DALLAS (FWAA) Oklahoma State's wide receiver-punt returner Josh Stewart is the weekly nominee for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award that will be announced at the end of the season.
The 21 year-old, 5-10 junior from Guyer High School in Denton, Texas, has suffered multiple family tragedies early on in his life.
Stewart lost his mother and his older brother in an automobile accident when he was only six months old. At the age of 5, he saw his father shot and killed in a struggle for a gun with his paternal grandfather. And then in 2005, living with his grandparents in St. Bernard Parish of New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina struck.
Stewart's family evacuated New Orleans for good and scrambled to stay in apartments in the Denton, Texas area. As a seventh grader, Stewart wanted to return to New Orleans. But one of the country's worst natural disasters had left them nothing.
"I wanted to get back to my New Orleans so bad because I missed my friends," Stewart told The Dallas Morning News. "I got used to McMath Middle School and decided I want to stay and finish middle school. Then, I just fell in love with this place."
Eventually, he became a football star at Guyer and wound up at Oklahoma State where he is now playing his third season as a receiver. Last season, he ranked 10th nationally in catches a game as a sophomore.
This season alone, Stewart has 40 receptions for 510 yards (12.8 yards-per-catch average) and two touchdowns. He is an electrifying punt returner with a 19.2 yard average (19 for 364 yards) and two scores, including a 95-yarder against TCU.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN's senior columnist 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 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).
The Orange Bowl is a 351-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3, 2014. Other Orange Bowl core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Swim Classic and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For more information on the 2013-14 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program, visit www.orangebowl.org.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization
founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,200 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 gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For
more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
at email@example.com or 972-713-6198.
2013 Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 25: Eric Fieilo, San Houston State
· Oct. 2: Gabe Woullard, East Carolina
Oct. 9: Bryson James, South Alabama
Oct. 16: Anthony Larceval, San José State
Oct. 23: Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech
Oct. 30: L'Damian Washington, Missouri
Nov. 6: Josh Stewart, Oklahoma State
Nov. 13: Case McCoy, Texas
Nov. 20: Coaching Staff, Minnesota
Orange Bowl Courage Award