DALLAS (FWAA) Georgia Tech's Deon Hill is the first weekly nominee for the 2014 Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Hill, a 6-0, 194-pound redshirt senior A-back from Phenix City, Ala., reported severe stomach cramps during last season and was hospitalized. He was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and missed four games in 2013.
"My family was more worried than I was, because I know it's not life-threatening or anything like that," Hill has told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in the last few months. "So I just took it all in stride. I guess it's a blessing in disguise. I know God's got something for me, so it's all good."
Hill, who has been taking anti-inflammatory medication, was cleared to play this season after missing 2014 spring practice. Georgia Tech is 3-0 following a 42-38 victory over Georgia Southern last week in which Hill caught a 13-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds remaining in the game to spur the Yellow Jackets to the victory. On the season, Hill has carried the ball 10 times for 61 yards and has two receptions for 24 yards.
The Courage Award was first presented by the 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 Orange Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation.
Previous winners of the FWAA's Courage Award are San José 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 Jos State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
The Orange Bowl is a 360-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 81st Orange Bowl on December 31, 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 2014-15 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to www.orangebowl.org.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, 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 gameday operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-870-6516.
2014 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 17: Deon Hill, Georgia Tech
Sept. 24: Ian Frye, Virginia
Oct. 1: Zack Golditch, Colorado State
Oct. 8: Josh Clemons, Kentucky
Oct. 15: Shon Coleman, Auburn
Oct. 22: Rori Blair, Pittsburgh
Oct. 29: Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville
Nov. 5: Laken Tomlinson, Duke
Nov. 12: Kyle McCarthy, Notre Dame
Nov. 19: Jarvis Byrd, N.C. State
Bowl Courage Award