Football Writers Association of America Nov. 21, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jardin May
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Junior receiver has publicly battled depression
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DALLAS (FWAA) – Portland State's Isaiah Woods is this week's nominee for the 2018 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Woods, a junior, has been public about his battle with depression, helping to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and football.

"I'll have to manage it for the rest of my life," Woods told The New York Times of his mental illness. "You see, it doesn't just go away like most people think. That doesn't mean I can't live my life. It doesn't mean I can't go for my goals."

Woods began his career at Washington in 2015, catching 13 passes for 178 yards as a freshman. But he felt an emptiness. He first tried to kill himself shortly after Christmas, according to The Times, and he tried again the following March when he returned to his mother's house in Los Angeles. He shared his struggles on Twitter in May, announcing that he was leaving school.

Woods has shared his story recently with a number of national media outlets. He enrolled at Portland State this past spring, joining the Vikings for spring practice after two years away from football. With the help of his girlfriend Madison, he weathered some dark days and worked his way back to the field, playing in seven games and catching five passes for 47 yards.

"Maybe not playing as much as I wanted when I came back to the game was a good thing," Woods told The Times of this season. "I am not a patient person, and this season taught me patience. It taught me that I need to remind myself to slow down, enjoy my surroundings, the people around me, the process I am on. And most of all, enjoy my life."

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 Wisconsin safety D'Cota Dixon (2017) 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 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 29, 2018. For more information on the 2018-19 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to Follow Orange Bowl: @OrangeBowl, Facebook and Instagram.

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 at

2018 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 12: John Schlarman, Kentucky | High-resolution headshot
Sept. 19: Nic Weishar, Notre Dame | High-resolution headshot
Sept. 26: Rex Culpepper, Syracuse | High-resolution headshot
Oct. 3: Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech | High-resolution headshot
Oct. 10: Antwan Dixon, Kent State | High-resolution headshot
Oct. 17: Marquez Stevenson, Houston | High-resolution headshot
Oct. 24: Janarius Robinson, Florida State | High-resolution headshot
Oct. 31: Tre Brown, Oklahoma | High-resolution headshot
Nov. 8: Matt Stauder, Indiana
Nov. 14: Kyle Richard, Cortland
Nov. 21: Isaiah Woods, Portland State

Related link:
Capital One Orange Bowl Courage Award