DALLAS (FWAA) Cal's Ashtyn Davis is this week's
nominee for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Davis, a fifth-year Golden Bear's safety, is a former walk-on who
has persevered through a litany of personal and physical challenges
to emerge as one of the nation's best prospects at his position.
During his sophomore year of high school, Davis was limited by
Osgood-Schlatter disease, an ailment that sets in below the knee.
The Santa Cruz, Calif., native eventually drew interest from a number
of schools to walk on as a track athlete, but with football always
in mind, he chose to go to Cal, an in-state school with a Pac-12
football program. He joined the football team in the spring of 2015
and even passed up a track scholarship when it was offered because
it would mean no more football.
"At that point, I was like, maybe track is the way to go just
because I didn't want to put that burden on my parents, who were
going to have to pay my way through school, if there was a way out,"
Davis told The Athletic in an August story. "But they and my grandpa
were like, We will find a way to make this work. We'll take out
loans, whatever we need to do in order to afford you this opportunity
to try to pursue what you love.'"
Davis' father and his maternal grandfather were both drug abusers.
On the eight-year anniversary of his father's sobriety, Davis and
his sister showed up at their dad's house with matching tattoos
on the inside of their wrists depicting mind, body and spirit, protected
by God, with the date of his sobriety in Roman numerals.
The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Davis wants to be a firefighter, but
if his play on the field is any indication, that job will have to
wait until his NFL career is finished. He is a two-time special
teams MVP for the Golden Bears, received first-team all-Pac-12 honors
from several media outlets and an honorable mention from the league
coaches last season. He has 138 career tackles, five interceptions,
10 breakups, 15 passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble
recoveries. Davis tallied seven tackles and one breakup in Cal's
28-20 win Saturday at Ole Miss, bringing the Golden Bears to 4-0.
They are the only undefeated team remaining in the Pac-12. Davis
is widely projected to be one of the top safeties drafted next spring.
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 SUNY Cortland linebacker Kyle Richard (2018), Wisconsin
safety D'Cota Dixon (2017), Pitt 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 Monday, December 30, 2019. For more information on the 2019-2020
Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities
through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on
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
2019 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 18: Blake Anderson, Arkansas State
Sept. 25: Ashtyn Davis, Cal
One Orange Bowl Courage Award