DALLAS (FWAA) – Oklahoma State cornerback Martel Van
Zant (Tyler, Texas) is this week's nominee for the FedEx
Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award to be announced at the end of
the 2006 season.
Van Zant, a junior cornerback, was born deaf, without ear drums,
after his mother suffered from chicken pox while pregnant. A strong
student who is majoring in management, Van Zant works with an interpreter
who accompanies him to classes, team meetings, practices and games.
A starter, Van Zant collected his first career interception in
the Cowboys' win over Arkansas State on Sept. 9, returning it 22
yards. Through four games this season, he has 11 tackles.
For the first time, the FWAA and the FedEx Orange Bowl will announce
a weekly nominee each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon
panel will determine the winner from all of the nominees. The winner
of the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award will be announced in
December and be presented with the trophy.
Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Gene
Wojciechowski, also a FWAA member. 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
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are the Tulane football
team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil
Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 329-member,
all-volunteer organization that exists as a self-sustaining, independent
organization supporting and producing activities and events which
enhance the image, economy, and culture of South Florida . Among
the OBC core events are the Orange Bowl Festival, FedEx Orange Bowl
and World-Class Halftime Show, the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball
Classic, the WaMu Orange Bowl Fan Fest presented by the City of
Miami, the Budweiser Orange Bowl Tailgate Party, Boston Market Orange
Bowl Youth Football Championships, Orange Bowl Cheer & Dance Championships,
Orange Bowl Swim Classic, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships
and Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit
organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 900 men and
women across North America who cover college football for a living.
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, a national poll and its annual All-America team.
2006 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 20: Ray Ray McElrathbey, Clemson
• Sept. 27: Martel Van Zant, Oklahoma State
• Oct. 4: Terry Hoeppner, Indiana
• Oct. 11: Dan Howell, Washington
• Oct. 18: Eddie Martin, Navy
• Oct. 25: Bill Doba, Washington State
• Nov. 1: Jerry Kill, Southern Illinois
• Nov. 8: Carl Pendleton, Oklahoma
• Nov. 15: Mike Tepper, California
• Nov. 29: Carlos Garcia, Oregon State