DALLAS (FWAA) – Wisconsin's D'Cota
Dixon is this week's nominee for the 2017
Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Dixon, a redshirt junior safety, overcame an unstable family
situation in Miami, along with personal health issues, to become
an All-Big Ten performer for the Badgers. Dixon had a brother
convicted of attempted murder, and he was placed in foster care
as his mother struggled to provide for the family.
Dixon's father and his father's girlfriend, Beth, took Dixon
and another brother in. But as Dixon's father's drug addiction
grew intense, Beth assumed guardianship and moved the brothers
Dixon later repaired his relationship with his father,
but his father passed away. Dixon and Beth were then evicted
from their home during Dixon's senior year of high school.
Dixon's girlfriend Grace and her mother took Dixon in.
"I am certainly well aware of D'Cota's past, but what stood
out to me is what a terrific person he is today," Wisconsin
coach Paul Chryst wrote in a letter of recommendation for Dixon
for the Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award, an
honor Dixon captured in 2017. "D'Cota is a great teammate, a
diligent worker, humble, genuine, compassionate, a person of
true faith, passionate about life's opportunities, loyal,
persistent, and a leader. The characteristics that describe
D'Cota are the very same characteristics I would want someone to
use to describe any one of my family members or myself."
In the spring of 2016, Dixon suffered a life-threatening
infection that left him unable to walk and in pain for a
week-long hospital stay. Still, Dixon ended up starting all 14
games for Wisconsin, recording 60 tackles, four interceptions
and four pass break-ups en route to third-team All-Big Ten
honors, in addition to Academic All-Big Ten honors.
Dixon has started all four games this season for the
undefeated No. 9 Badgers, recording 27 tackles, one
interception, one pass break-up and notching the game-sealing
safety this past weekend in the Big Ten opener against
Northwestern, a 33-24 win.
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 |
• Sept. 20: William Lee, NIU |
• Sept. 27: Cristian Garcia, Florida |
• Oct. 4: D'Cota Dixon, Wisconsin |
• Oct. 11: Jake Olson, USC |
• Oct. 18: Darian Roseboro, NC State |
• Oct. 25: Sean Savoy, Virginia Tech |
• Nov. 1: Courtney Love, Kentucky |
• Nov. 8: UAB Blazers
Nov. 15: Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma |
One Orange Bowl Courage Award