DALLAS (FWAA) Oregon State's Carlos Garcia is this week's nominee for the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award to be announced at the end of the 2006 season.

Garcia, 20, is the Beavers' head student manager. The junior, who is majoring in nutrition and sports science, has risen from a childhood filled with heartache. On his back, the tattoo of a cross has his parents' birth and death dates.

A native of San Diego, Garcia's parents were drug and alcohol abusers. Along with his mother and brothers, Garcia moved to Corvallis, Ore., to live with his grandmother in 1998. But their new life was altered when, shortly after their arrival, his mother was diagnosed with Hepatitis C.

His father, who was in and out of legal trouble, died in 2003 of cirrhosis of the liver. His mother died at 47, two weeks before Garcia graduated from high school. That year, Garcia was named State Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

"Once my father had passed, I made it my goal in life to enjoy every last second with my mother, and to do everything possible to make her proud of me," Garcia said.

Garcia is paying his way through school with a book scholarship and a small stipend from the Oregon State football program, as well as a Pell Grant, an Oregon Opportunity Grant and a diversity education scholarship.

He became involved with the Oregon State football program because Karen Stansbury, wife of Oregon State associate athletic director Todd Stansbury, is involved with local Boys and Girls Clubs.

For the first time, the FWAA and the FedEx Orange Bowl have announced 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.

The 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 through hardship.

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