DALLAS (FWAA) Minnesota's Tanner Morgan is this week's nominee for the 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Morgan, a fifth-year senior, became the winningest quarterback in Golden Gophers history this past Saturday, four months after the death of his father. Head coach P.J. Fleck rewarded Morgan with a game ball afterward in the locker room.
"It was pretty cool. I don't think that's a moment I'll forget for a long time," Morgan said this week. "It's something that means a lot to me, because winning games as a quarterback is not really just about you; it's about the team and being around a lot of good teammates and a lot of good coaches. So it was really special, and I'm forever thankful for that moment and thankful to be a part of this program and this culture."
Morgan's father, Ted, was diagnosed with brain cancer in the summer of 2020. Ted had coached Tanner while Tanner was growing up. Because of the pandemic, Tanner was able to be back home in Union, Ky., and support his family after his father's diagnosis. Ted Morgan passed away on July 12, 2021.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Morgan completed 14 of 20 passes Saturday for 196 yards with two touchdowns in Minnesota's 35-14 win at Indiana, improving his career record as a starter to 25-12. Morgan ranks second in school history in passing yards (7,764), first in completion percentage (61.2) and tied for second in touchdown passes (55). The Gophers enter Thanksgiving weekend with a chance to win the Big Ten West division title.Morgan is one of 20 semifinalists for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, which recognizes a player's leadership on and off the field. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2019, honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2020 and academic All-Big Ten honors in 2018 and '19. Morgan is working toward a masters degree in sport management after earning his undergraduate degree in human resource development, and he has been instrumental in the Gophers' community service initiatives.
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