DALLAS (FWAA) – USC's Jake Olson
is this week's nominee for the 2017 Capital One Orange
Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Olson, a redshirt sophomore long snapper, lost his eyesight
to cancer but joined the Trojans in 2015 as a walk-on. He
snapped on a successful extra point in the fourth quarter of
Saturday's 38-10 win against Oregon State, his second appearance
of the season.
"I just think there's a beauty in it," Olson said after his
first game appearance, in Week 1. "If you can't see how God
works things out, then I think you're the blind one. I think to
have a situation where a 12-year-old kid loses his sight and
going to have to face the rest of his life without seeing is
just ugly, and to fast forward eight years and have that same
kid be able to snap on the football field that really got him
through that time, is just really just special and incredible
and I just want to thank everyone a part of it. I'm honored that
I was part of God's plan in that way of Him getting me out here
and inspiring thousands of people just through this whole
Olson, who was also nominated for the Courage Award in 2015,
was born with retinoblastoma, which is a cancer of the retina.
He lost his left eye when he was 10 months old and despite
several procedures, he had his right eye removed when he was 12,
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Olson won the 2016 Uplifting Athletes
Rare Disease Champion Award, which is given to a leader in
college football who has realized his or her potential to impact
the rare disease community. He is a motivational speaker, and he
has co-authored two books on overcoming adversity.
The Courage Award was first presented by the Football Writers
Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. A select group of writers
from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for
nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including
overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster
or living through hardship. The winner of the award will be included
in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his
trophy at an on-field presentation.
Previous winners of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage
Award are Pittsburgh running back James Conner (2016), Miami offensive
lineman Hunter Knighton (2015), Duke offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson
(2014), San Jose State defensive lineman Anthony Larceval (2013),
Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive
lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand
(2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), Tulsa's
Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton (2007), Clemson's
Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis'
Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's
William Bratton (2002).
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is
a 360-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization
that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary
mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida
through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained
a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange
Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars: youth
sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and
scholarships, and legacy gifts. The Orange Bowl features a year-round
schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl
on December 30, 2017. For more information on the 2017-18 Orange
Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through
the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to
Follow Orange Bowl:
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key
executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas
that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
2017 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 13: J-Shun Harris II, Indiana | High-resolution
Sept. 20: William Lee, NIU | High-resolution
Sept. 27: Cristian Garcia, Florida | High-resolution
Oct. 4: D'Cota Dixon, Wisconsin | High-resolution
Oct. 11: Jake Olson, USC | High-resolution
One Orange Bowl Courage Award