DALLAS (FWAA) Tulsa's Yohance Burnett is this week's nominee for the 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Burnett, a linebacker, has overcome multiple season-ending ACL tears to start in all four games this season for the Golden Hurricane.
"It's been a blessing to be back out there with my family and friends, just being able to go out there and play at the highest level with my (teammates)," Burnett told the Tulsa World. "You understand how quickly this game can be taken away from you. It's been taken away from me twice, in 2018 and obviously last year. But it's something that you have to continue to just keep pushing (through), keep moving forward."
Burnett transferred from Navarro Junior College to Tulsa in 2018 and suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during fall camp. Two years later, Burnett tore the ACL in his left knee during fall camp.
The 6-foot-1, 223-pound Burnett has rebounded from both injuries to post the third-most tackles on the team (24) through four games this season, including 1.5 tackles for loss and one quarterback hurry. Burnett posted six tackles and was credited with half of a tackle for loss during Saturday's 41-34 win over Arkansas State, Tulsa's first victory of the season.
For his Tulsa career, Burnett has 59 tackles and four tackles for loss between the 2019 and '21 seasons, both of which followed the knee injuries. The Pearland, Texas native was named honorable mention All-Southwest Conference during his sophomore season at Navarro. Burnett is currently pursuing his masters degree in exercise and sports science.
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 Arkansas State analyst Alex Charlton (2020), Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson (2019), 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 380-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 through its Orange Bowl Cares program: Youth Sports, Education, Community Engagement and Legacy Programs. Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31, 2021. For more information on the 2021 Orange Bowl events, including promotional inquiries and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org or follow @OrangeBowl on social media.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or email@example.com.
2021 Capital One Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Sept. 22: McKenzie Milton, Florida State
· Sept. 29: Yohance Burnett, Tulsa
· Oct. 6: J.J. Weaver, Kentucky
· Oct. 13: Elijah Hicks, Cal
· Oct. 20: Eli Thomas, Minnesota State
· Oct. 27: Taijh Alston, West Virginia
· Nov. 3: Utah Utes
· Nov. 10: Vederian Lowe, Illinois
· Nov. 17: Tre Tipton, Pitt
· Nov. 24: Tanner Morgan, Minnesota