2020 FWAA All-America Team unveiled

DALLAS – The 2020 Football Writers Association of America All-America Team, presented in partnership with the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, is headlined by five players from Alabama on the first team and more than half the first team coming from the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences. There are 19 schools represented from eight Football Bowl Subdivision conferences on the first team, including 10 players who are competing the College Football Playoff later this week.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is presenting the All-America Team as part of what has been a season-long campaign to promote the 76-year history of this prestigious honor. Each All-American will receive a commemorative football and the first-team selections will be presented with a custom All-America watch.

“Serving in the role of presenting sponsor of the FWAA’s prestigious All-America team is the perfect for the both of us,” said Bry Patton, the chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association and Cotton Bowl Foundation. “The Goodyear Cotton Bowl and the nation’s writers and broadcasters have shared a lot of special moments over eight decades. We are proud of this relationship and look forward to doing our part in promoting these deserving student-athletes.”

Since 1945, the FWAA team has been among the five used in the NCAA’s selection of an annual consensus All-America team in college football. Since the 2002 season, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), The Associated Press, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation have joined the FWAA as the five designated selectors by the NCAA.

Alabama has four players on the first-team offense – wide receiver DeVonta Smith, running back Najee Harris, center Landon Dickerson and Outland Trophy finalist offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood – marking the first time since the FWAA All-America team broke into specialized backfield positions in 1967 for one school to post four players on either side of the ball. Add in defensive back Patrick Surtain II, and only two other teams have ever placed five or more players on the first team as the Crimson Tide match their 2011 national title team with five, leaving the six from Oklahoma’s 2003 BCS-runner-up squad still holding the FWAA record.

The Crimson Tide’s six players on the combined first and second teams tie that 2003 Oklahoma team and Army’s 1946 team as the most for one team in one season.

Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne make their first-team debuts on the 2020 squad and the four College Football Playoff teams occupy 10 of the 27 first-team slots. Etienne was selected as the all-purpose player after earning second-team running back spots the past two seasons. Clemson’s opponent, Ohio State, has guard Wyatt Davis back on the offensive line after a second-team spot last year – Etienne and Davis are the only repeat members from the combined 2019 All-America team with no first-teamers back on the 2020 squad.

Notre Dame’s three selections are second only to national semifinal foe Alabama. Outland Trophy finalist offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg joins Butkus Award winner Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and safety Kyle Hamilton. Clemson and Notre Dame claim five of the ACC’s conference-best eight first-teamers that also has kicker Jose Borregales of Miami (Fla.) and Pressley Harvin III of Georgia Tech at punter. The other ACC spot came from Pitt defensive lineman Rashad Weaver.

The SEC commands the first-team offense with six of 11 members that includes Florida tight end Kyle Pitts and Texas A&M offensive lineman Kenyon Green added to Alabama’s players. Surtain was the SEC’s only first-team defensive selection.

Iowa State was the only program not in the College Football Playoff to place two on the first team with Breece Hall, who led the nation in rushing during the regular season, at running back along with defensive lineman JaQuan Bailey. It’s the first time for Iowa State to have two All-Americans in the same season. No one caught more touchdown passes than wide receiver Jaelon Darden, who completes the first-team offense as the first North Texas player to ever earn first-team All-America status.

Linebacker Zaven Collins, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, headlines the defense as Tulsa’s first All-America pick since 1991. Defensive lineman Tarron Jackson is Coastal Carolina’s first selection and joins Outland Trophy finalist Daviyon Nixon of Iowa at the front of the defense. Linebacker Joseph Ossai is Texas’ first honoree since 2017, Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner is only his school’s second All-American on defense and Indiana cornerback Tiawan Mullen is the Hoosiers’ first selection to play defense and its first of any kind since 2015.

The two return specialists were Boise State’s Avery Williams on kickoffs and Houston’s Marcus Jones on punts. Williams is only the third first-teamer in Boise State history and Jones gives The American Athletic Conference three first-teamers in a single season for the first time in its history.

On the second team is quarterback Mac Jones, who completes Alabama’s tie for the FWAA’s single-season honoree record, and an Ohio State duo in wide receiver Garrett Wilson and safety Shaun Wade. BYU offensive lineman Brady Christiansen becomes the Cougars’ first All-American since 2001. Two 1,000-yard rushers earned spots – UTSA’s Sincere McCormick is the first honoree in his program’s history and Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson, along with offensive lineman Kayode Awosika are Buffalo’s first selections since 2013 and its first on offense.

The Pac-12 has two second-team honorees with Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux on the defensive line and Colorado linebacker Nate Landman. Also on the second team is defensive back Greg Newsome of Northwestern, the Wildcats’ first selection since 2012 and its first on defense since now-head coach Pat Fitzgerald was a two-time linebacker honoree in 1995-96. Patrick Johnson, the national sack leader in the regular season, is Tulane’s first All-American since 2012 and its first on defense. West Virginia was one of nine schools to have at least two honorees with its pair of defenders in lineman Darius Stills and safety Tykee Smith. Marshall linebacker Tavante Beckett is his school’s first selection since 2011 and Trevon Moehrig gives TCU a selection in the secondary in back-to-back seasons. Miami defensive lineman Jaelen Phillips gives the Hurricanes a pair of honorees on the combined team for the first time since 2003.

The combined 54-man teams represent 39 schools from all 10 FBS conferences plus one independent and hail from half the country – their hometowns are in 26 states led by nine from Texas, eight from Florida and six from California. It is heavily-laden with seniors, who occupy almost half (23) the spots, followed by 19 juniors and 12 sophomores. There are no freshmen on the combined team.

The FWAA’s All-America Committee selected this 77th annual team based on nominations from the entire membership. This is just the eighth season in the modern era (post-1950) that the FWAA has named a second team. The FWAA also selected an all-purpose player for a fourth consecutive year, which made for a 54-man full team.

2020 FWAA ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

QB Trevor Lawrence, Clemson 6-6 220 Jr. Cartersville, Ga.
RB Breece Hall, Iowa State 6-1 215 So. Wichita, Kan.
RB Najee Harris, Alabama 6-2 230 Sr. Antioch, Calif.
WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas 5-9 174 Sr. Houston, Texas
WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama 6-1 175 Sr. Amite, La.
TE Kyle Pitts, Florida 6-6 240 Jr. Philadelphia, Pa.
OL Wyatt Davis, Ohio State 6-4 315 Jr. Bellflower, Calif.
OL Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame 6-6 302 Gr. Cleveland, Ohio
OL Kenyon Green, Texas A&M 6-4 325 So. Humble, Texas
OL Alex Leatherwood, Alabama 6-6 312 Sr. Pensacola, Fla.
C Landon Dickerson, Alabama 6-6 325 Sr. Hickory, N.C.

DEFENSE

DL JaQuan Bailey, Iowa State 6-2 261 Sr. Jacksonville, Fla.
DL Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina 6-2 260 Sr. Aiken, S.C.
DL Daviyon Nixon, Iowa 6-3 305 Jr. Kenosha, Wis.
DL Rashad Weaver, Pitt 6-5 270 Sr. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa 6-4 260 Jr. Hominy, Okla.
LB Joseph Ossai, Texas 6-4 253 Jr. Conroe, Texas
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame 6-1 215 Sr. Hampton, Va.
DB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati 6-2 188 So. Detroit, Mich.
DB Kyle Hamilton, Notre Dame 6-4 219 So. Atlanta, Ga.
DB Tiawan Mullen, Indiana 5-10 176 So. Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
DB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama 6-2 202 Jr. Plantation, Fla.

SPECIALISTS

K Jose Borregales, Miami 5-10 205 Sr. Miami, Fla.
P Pressley Harvin III, Georgia Tech 6-0 255 Sr. Alcolu, S.C.
KR Avery Williams, Boise State 5-9 195 Sr. Pasadena, Calif.
PR Marcus Jones, Houston 5-8 185 Jr. Enterprise, Ala.
AP Travis Etienne, Clemson 5-10 205 Sr. Jennings, La.

First Team Only Breakdown

Combined by School (19): Alabama 5, Notre Dame 3, Clemson 2, Iowa State 2, Boise State, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Florida, Georgia Tech, Houston, Indiana, Iowa, Miami, North Texas, Ohio State, Pitt, Texas, Texas A&M, Tulsa.

By Conference (8): ACC 8, SEC 7, American Athletic 3, Big 12 3, Big Ten 3, Conference USA 1, Mountain West 1, Sun Belt 1.

By Class: Senior/Graduate 14, Junior 8, Sophomore 5.

By Home State (15): Florida 6, California 3, Texas 3, Georgia 2, Louisiana 2, South Carolina 2, Alabama, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin.

2010 FWAA All-America Second Team

Offense: QB Mac Jones, Alabama; RB Sincere McCormick, UTSA; RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo; WR Jonathan Adams, Arkansas State; WR Garrett Wilson, Ohio State; TE Hunter Long, Boston College; OL Kayode Awosika, Buffalo; OL Brady Christiansen, BYU; OL Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech; OL Trey Smith, Tennessee; C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa.

Defense: DL Patrick Johnson, Tulane; DL Jaelan Phillips, Miami; DL Darius Stills, West Virginia; DL Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon; LB Tavante Beckett, Marshall; LB Nick Bolton, Missouri; LB Nate Landman, Colorado; DB Trevon Moehrig, TCU; DB Greg Newsome, Northwestern; DB Tykee Smith, West Virginia; DB Shaun Wade, Ohio State.

Specialists: K Cade York, LSU; P Jake Camarda, Georgia; KR Chris Smith, Louisiana; PR Jeremiah Haydel, Texas State; AP Dwayne Eskridge, Western Michigan.

Combined First- and Second-Team Breakdown

By School (39): Alabama 6, Notre Dame 3, Ohio State 3, Buffalo 2, Clemson 2, Iowa 2, Iowa State 2, Miami 2, West Virginia 2, Arkansas State, Boise State, Boston College, BYU, Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Indiana, Louisiana, LSU, Marshall, Missouri, North Texas, Northwestern, Oregon, Pitt, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas State, Tulane, Tulsa, UTSA, Virginia Tech, Western Michigan.

By Conference (10): SEC 12, ACC 11, Big Ten 7, Big 12 6, American Athletic 4, Sun Belt 4, Conference USA 3, Mid-American 3, Pac-12 2, Mountain West 1, Independents 1.

By Class: Senior/Graduate 23, Junior 19, Sophomore 12.

By Home State (26): Texas 9, Florida 8, California 6, Georgia 3, Louisiana 2, Maryland 2, Pennsylvania 2, South Carolina 2, Tennessee 2, Virginia 2, Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

FWAA All-America Teams Since 1944

Since 1945, the FWAA All-America Team has been among the five teams used to formulate the NCAA’s annual consensus All-America team, which will be announced later this week. Since the 2002 season, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), The Associated Press, The Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation have joined the FWAA as the five designated selectors by the NCAA.

The FWAA All-America Team was first selected in 1944, three years after the organization was formed. The FWAA’s inaugural team included Army’s Heisman Trophy tandem of Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and Georgia Tech’s Frank Broyles, who later became Arkansas’ head football coach and athletic director.

Over the years, the FWAA team has highlighted all the game’s great players in several media forums. From 1946-70, LOOK magazine published the FWAA team and brought players and selected writers to New York City for a celebration. During that 25-year period, the FWAA team was introduced on national television shows by such noted hosts as Bob Hope, Steve Allen and Perry Como.

After LOOK folded, the FWAA started a long association with NCAA Films (later known as NCAA Productions), which produced a 30-minute television program. The team was part of ABC-TV’s 1981 College Football Series. From 1983-90, the team was introduced on either ABC or ESPN. In 2002 and ‘03, the All-America team was honored with a banquet at the Citrus Bowl.

The same bowl also was a sponsor when the team was featured on ABC and ESPN from different locations on Disney properties from 2004-07. From 2008-10, the team had been the subject of a one-hour ESPN special.

For seven decades the FWAA has selected an All-America team with the help of its members and an All-America Committee, which represents all the regions in the country. From that All-America team, the FWAA also selects the Outland Trophy winner (best interior lineman) and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner (best defensive player).

Some of the true greats of the writing profession have helped to select this team over the years: Grantland Rice, Bert McGrane, Blackie Sherrod, Furman Bisher, Pat Harmon, Fred Russell, Edwin Pope, Murray Olderman, Paul Zimmerman – and the list goes on and on. The FWAA All-America team is steeped in tradition and history and is selected by a writers’ group with those same attributes.

The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 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 game day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com or call 214-870-6516.

2020 FWAA All-America Committee: Andrea Adelson, ESPN.com; Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman; Travis Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle; Ken Capps, TexasFootball.com; Brett Cianci, Pick Six Previews; Scott Dochterman, The Athletic; Scott Farrell, collegepressbox.com; Bryan Fischer, Athlon Sports; Clay Henry, Hawgs Illustrated; John Hoover, SI Now: All Sooners; Adam Hunsucker, Monroe News-Star; Shehan Jeyarajah, Dave Campbell’s Texas Football; Barrett Jones, ESPN; Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland.com; Nate Mink, Syracuse.com; Tony Siracusa, Last Word on College Football; Phil Steele, Phil Steele Publications; David Ubben, The Athletic; Chris Vannini, The Athletic; John Wagner, Toledo Blade (retired).

Related links:
• All-Time FWAA All-America Teams (.pdf)
• Download the FWAA All-America logo

 

 

 

Alex Charlton named winner of 2020 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award

MIAMI LAKES, Fla. — Alex Charlton is the winner of the 2020 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Charlton left his post as an Arkansas State analyst to join the front lines of the pandemic as a COVID-19 response team nurse.

“I love football and I miss it on a daily basis,” Charlton said. “But when you go to New York to help out at the peak of everything and you see all that is going on in the rest of the country, to me, how can you not do anything about it when you’re capable of helping?”

In March, Charlton became a graduate assistant at Midwestern State, a Division II school in Wichita Falls, Texas. An Overland Park, Kan., native, Charlton had attended Kansas, where he was as a student assistant for the Jayhawks and stayed on after his 2013 graduation, serving as a player personnel assistant and a graduate assistant.

From there, Charlton enrolled in nursing school at University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2015. He scratched the football itch by helping out as an assistant coach at several area high schools.

Shortly after landing with Midwestern State, Charlton left his job to work as a nurse in New York, which was experiencing nearly 5,000 coronavirus cases a day at the height of the pandemic. Charlton stayed until June, when cases had fallen to roughly 1,000 per day. He returned home to Kansas, then went back to his post with the Mustangs at Midwestern State.

Late in July, Arkansas State hired Charlton as a defensive analyst. But on Aug. 9, Charlton left football again when his services were needed the most, going to Ennis, Texas to again work as a COVID-19 nurse.

Arkansas State was coached at the time by Blake Anderson, who won the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award for the way he guided the Red Wolves after the death of his wife, Wendy, who passed away after a two-year battle with breast cancer. (Anderson was recently hired as Utah State’s coach.)

“It’s an honor to be selected for this award, especially with somebody like Blake, who has won it himself,” Charlton said. “It’s pretty special and heartwarming.”

The 30-year-old Charlton is currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, about an hour northwest of Ennis Regional Medical Center. He will be there until at least the end of January, and likely longer. Every week brings a new schedule, and new challenges. All of it is worthwhile, Charlton says, knowing that he is doing his part to make a difference during a time in which the country is in dire need of medical personnel.

He watches as much football as he can when he’s not working. Sometimes, when he gets a free hour or two during a night shift, he will watch recorded games and catch up on box scores from around the nation.

“I cannot think of an individual who is more deserving of this award than Alex, especially given these challenging times for everyone,” former FWAA President Matt Fortuna said. “Here is a young man who is making an incredible sacrifice by risking his health and his career to serve others and make this world a better place.

“Alex truly walks the walk, and he sets an incredible example for the rest of us to try to live up to.”

Charlton hopes to get back involved with football when the time allows for it. For now, he is answering a higher calling, working diligently to provide care for the sick in a region that needs his help, for however long that may be.

“I have seen all of the people who have won this award, and to be in that group is pretty special,” Charlton said. “Thank you to everybody for their support.”

All-Time Capital One Orange Bowl Courage Award recipients

• 2002: William Bratton, Toledo
• 
2003: Neil Parry, San Jose State
• 
2004: Horacio Colen, Memphis
• 
2005: Tulane Green Wave
• 
2006: Ray Ray McElrathbey, Clemson
• 
2007: Zerbin Singleton, Navy
• 
2008: Wilson Holloway, Tulsa
• 
2009: Connecticut Huskies
• 
2010: Eric LeGrand, Rutgers
2011: Arthur Ray Jr., Michigan State
• 2012: Daniel Rodriguez, Clemson
• 2013: Anthony Larceval, San Jose State
• 2014: Laken Tomlinson, Duke
• 2015: Hunter Knighton, Miami
• 2016: James Conner, Pitt
• 2017: D’Cota Dixon, Wisconsin
• 2018: Kyle Richard, Cortland State
• 2019: Blake Anderson, Arkansas State

Tulsa’s Zaven Collins wins 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy

CHARLOTTE, N.C.  – Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins, a playmaker who helped seal two of his team’s six wins with interceptions and sparked the Golden Hurricane’s rise to the American Athletic Conference Championship Game, was named the recipient of the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy as the college football’s national defensive player of the year by the Football Writers Association of America.

Collins is the first Tulsa player to win any of the current on-field performance awards and becomes the Golden Hurricane’s first FWAA All-American since offensive lineman Jerry Ostroski in 1991. He was selected from among five finalists that also included Coastal Carolina defensive end Tarron Jackson, Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon, Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

The FWAA All-America Committee selected Collins as this year’s Bronko Nagurski Trophy recipient after voting from the entire membership. The official presentation of the award by the FWAA and the Charlotte Touchdown Club, the award’s sponsor, will occur at a later date.

Zaven Collins

Collins, a 6-4, 260-pound junior from Hominy, Okla., was a unanimous choice as The American Defensive Player of the Year and the first player in league history to earn any unanimous player-of-the-year designation. He registered 53 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks in the regular season along with a fumble recovery and breaking up two passes. His four interceptions tied for fifth nationally among all players and tied for the national lead among linebackers with three others. Two of his takeaways were returned for touchdowns, including a highlight-reel 96-yard pick-six that was the game-winning score in overtime against Tulane. He is the first player from Tulsa to be named as the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Year.

“I’m honored and blessed to receive the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. It’s awe-inspiring to be mentioned in the same breath as Bronko Nagurski and the many great players who won this award before me,” Collins said. “I’m so thankful for this honor and for all the people who have put me in this position – my family, coaches, teammates and fan base. I can’t thank the coaching staff and my teammates enough. Coach G (Defensive Coordinator Joe Gillespie) and Coach Monty (Head Coach Philip Montgomery) have pushed me, and the absolute best teammates have helped make me better each day. I’m thrilled to represent my family, the city of Tulsa and The University of Tulsa in receiving the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.”

Collins was the Bronko Nagurski Trophy’s National Player of the Week for the weekend of Nov. 14 following another of his highlight interceptions in a 28-24 win over SMU. Collins corralled a pass at midfield with 1:29 left to thwart an SMU rally. It was the first time a Tulsa player had earned the weekly honor and Collins’ play helped post a second-half shutout of SMU – then the eighth-best total offense in the country – while Tulsa navigated its 21-point comeback that spurred its jaunt to the American Conference Championship Game.

His athleticism and range on the field is easy to spot. Collins, a 2018 FWAA Freshman All-America selection, was a quarterback in high school who happened to also play safety and linebacker. He was a four-year starter on both offense and defense, accounting for 7,140 all-purpose yards and 86 rushing and passing touchdowns in his high school career.

In four games against top-25 opponents this season (Oklahoma State, UCF, SMU and Cincinnati) Collins had 25 solo tackles among his 35 total stops and 10 TFL’s for minus-45 yards and four sacks. His other pick-six was a 38-yard touchdown at USF. He was The American’s Defensive Player of the Week three times following seven games.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have a young man like Zaven Collins be recognized as the Bronko Nagurski winner,” Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery said. “Being mentioned with the likes of former award-winners such as Warren Sapp and Charles Woodson and carrying on the name of the original tough guy himself, Bronko Nagurski, is a tremendous honor. He was a guy who played multiple positions and played the game at a high level with so much passion and grit. I think Zaven embodies what Bronko Nagurski and this award represent. To have the Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner come from our University, what an honor!

“Zaven Collins is what college football is all about. He does a great job in the classroom, does everything you ask of him on and off the field, is a great leader and a great teammate. He has always put his team in front of himself. Even with the recognition he has received this year, he’d be the first one to tell you he hasn’t done that by himself. It’s been with the help of a lot of his teammates pushing him, coaches pushing him and his dedication to being great. He’s done that same thing in the classroom. This is a young man who has poured a lot into being a true student-athlete and being a winner on both sides of that.”

No. 24 Tulsa is scheduled to take on Mississippi State in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 31.

The American Conference has Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich as a former winner in 2015 and Collins was the AAC’s fourth all-time finalist, the most recent being Houston tackle Ed Oliver in 2017.

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club
The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1990, the club has raised more than $2 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

About LendingTree, Inc.
LendingTree is the nation’s leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search and choosing the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student refinances, credit cards, insurance and more. Through the My LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. My LendingTree proactively compares consumers’ credit accounts against offers on their network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. LendingTree’s purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life’s meaningful moments through choice, education and support.

Related links:
• Preseason Watch List | Finalists
• All-time Bronko Nagurski Trophy winners, finalists
• Download the Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree logo: Primary (.jpg) | Primary (.eps)

FWAA announces finalists for 2020 Outland Trophy

OMAHA – Offensive tackles whose teams will face each other in a College Football Playoff semifinal and one of the nation’s top defensive tackles were named as the three finalists for the 2020 Outland Trophy by the Football Writers Association of AmericaLiam Eichenberg, an offensive tackle for Notre Dame’s top-20 rushing offense, and Alex Leatherwood, an offensive tackle on one of the nation’s top offenses at top-ranked SEC champion Alabama, join Daviyon Nixon, an Iowa defensive tackle who led all interior linemen in tackles for loss, as this season’s superior interior linemen.

The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense. The All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America selected the three finalists from among the six semifinalists announced last week.

The recipient of the 75th Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Jan. 7, 2021. The official presentation to the winner by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee is still to be determined.

A closer look at each of the finalists, with a note that Eichenberg and Leatherwood will oppose each other in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One on Jan. 1, 2021 in a College Football Playoff Semifinal.

Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame (6-6, 302, Gr., Cleveland, Ohio): Eichenberg anchors a talented offensive front that was third in the ACC and 11th nationally in rushing offense at 235.0 yards per game in leading the Fighting Irish to a 10-1 season. The Irish were third in the ACC in fewest sacks allowed per game (2.09, and 23 total). Eichenberg’s efforts helped Notre Dame produce a 1,000-yard rusher in Kyren Williams, and three different running backs had 100-yard games for a combined nine 100-yard days in 11 games. The Irish topped 500 total yards four times this season. Eichenberg was named the ACC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week twice, and his protection at left tackle helped quarterback Ian Book to set a school record with 266 consecutive passing attempts without an interception. Notre Dame has had three Outland Trophy winners, the most recent being defensive end Ross Browner in 1976 (also guard Bill Fischer in 1948 and tackle George Connor in 1946). In 2017 guard Quenton Nelson was a finalist and offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey was a semifinalist.

Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama (6-6, 312, Sr., Pensacola, Fla.): Leatherwood’s qualification is simple: he’s regarded as the best offensive lineman on the nation’s best offense that continues to post record marks in an 11-0 season. Alabama’s 52 points in its SEC Championship Game win marks the third straight game for the Tide to top 50 points and Leatherwood’s protection at left tackle helped quarterback Mac Jones set SEC Championship Game records for yards (418) and completions (33). Alabama has scored 35 or more points in 24 consecutive games, the longest streak in major-college football history, and averages 49.7 points per game. Leatherwood has an overall blocking grade of 90.8 by the Alabama coaching staff and has graded out at a team-high-tying 99.6 on all assignments. Running back Najee Harris (1,262 yards, 5.90 ypc) has 24 rushing touchdowns, the second-most in Alabama history. Leatherwood was named a permanent team captain by his Crimson Tide teammates as well as one of four Offensive Achievement Award winners by the coaches. Four of Alabama’s five previous Outland winners have been offensive tackles – Cam Robinson (2016), Barrett Jones (2011), Andre Smith (2008) and Chris Samuels (1999) – as well as five of the Tide’s last seven finalists.

Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa (6-3, 305, Jr., Kenosha, Wis.): This is the first career postseason honor for Nixon, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the year and Defensive Lineman of the Year who tied for the conference lead with 5.5 sacks on a team that has won six straight games after an 0-2 start. In just eight games played Nixon led the nation among defensive tackles with 13.5 tackles for loss, clogging the middle on an Iowa defense that was second in the Big Ten in total defense (313.8 ypg), third in scoring defense (16.0) and rushing defense (107.6) and fourth in pass defense (206.1). Nixon is tied for third in tackles for the Hawkeyes with 45 and 22 solos. He opened the season with seven tackles at Purdue and then posted a career-high 11 against division champion Northwestern, and his 71-yard interception return for a touchdown at Penn State remains on network highlight packages. The Hawkeyes have had four Outland winners in their past, most recently offensive tackle Brandon Scherff in 2014. Offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs was a semifinalist last season. Offensive tackle Robert Gallery (2003), tackle Alex Karras (1957) and guard Calvin Jones (1955) are the school’s other winners.

The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually by the FWAA since 1946, is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

Related links:
• Preseason Watch List | Semifinalists | Finalists
• Download 75th Anniversary Outland Trophy logo: Primary (.jpg) | Dark background (.jpg) | Illustrator (.ai)

FWAA names nine finalists for 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award

DALLAS – The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced nine finalists for the 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Monday. Among the finalists is a two-time winner and three former finalists representing a combined total of 14 nominations. Two head coaches whose teams are playing in the College Football Playoff headline the list that also includes coaches of three other conference champions and the country’s top independent team.In alphabetical order the finalists are: Tom Allen, Indiana; Brent Brennan, San José State; Matt Campbell, Iowa State; Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina; Karl Dorrell, Colorado; Luke Fickell, Cincinnati; Nick Saban, Alabama; Kalani Sitake, BYU, and Dabo Swinney, Clemson.

Brennan, Chadwell, Fickell, Saban and Swinney each claimed conference championships this season. Campbell and Iowa State won the Big 12 regular-season title, Allen has Indiana among the top 10 going into the Outback Bowl, and Sitake led BYU into the top 10 and Dorrell had Colorado each unbeaten into December.Saban is the dean of the nine finalists as a two-time winner and seven-time finalist. Swinney, a six-time finalist, is among the finalists for a fourth consecutive season and is the only returning finalist from 2019. Both coaches will compete in the CFP next month, Swinney in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Ohio State.

“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud to sponsor the Eddie Robinson Award and to once again have the opportunity to recognize the top college football coaches in the nation as finalists for this honor,” said Ralph Capitelli, the President of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. “While each of the finalists is fully deserving of the award, we look forward to presenting the trophy to the winner as selected by the football writers.”

The 2020 recipient will be announced the week of Jan. 4-8, 2021. The official presentation will be on the campus of the winning coach at a later date.

The nine finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership.

“The FWAA believes it has an extremely good group of coaches representing different conferences and independents,” said Executive Director Steve Richardson. “We will have a fine recipient for the 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. The FWAA’s congratulations go out to all coaches for weathering what has been a very trying and unpredictable year.”

“This time of the year with the winding down of the college football season, I’m especially excited to receive the announcement of the Eddie Robinson Coach of Year Award finalists,” said Eddie Robinson III, the grandson of the award’s namesake. “With all of the world dealing with Covid-19, and the fact that we even had a season and that every program had to adapt to deal with the virus protocols etc, all the coaches that made list of finalists are even more than deserving of the award. We wish the best for all that were selected as finalists.”

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

The 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

Tom Allen, Indiana: The Hoosiers (6-1) are one of three teams with three top-25 wins and have been ranked in the top 10 five times in 2020, cresting the top-10 threshold for the first time since 1969. The eight weeks in the poll is Indiana’s longest streak since 1945. In his fifth season in Bloomington, the Big Ten Coach of the Year by media and fellow coaches has led Indiana to six conference wins, tied for the most in program history with the 1967 and ’87 teams. This is Allen’s first finalist honor and the Hoosiers’ first Eddie Robinson Award finalist since 1967 when John Pont was the winner.

Brent Brennan, San José State: The Spartans (7-0) are one of five unbeaten teams heading into the bowl season under their fourth-year head coach. They have been one of the great success stories this season. Having been forced by the pandemic to play three home games outside of California, Brennan, the Mountain West Coach of the Year, and San José State responded by winning their division and playing in the school’s first conference championship game, beating Boise State, 34-20. This is the Spartans’ first winning season since 2012, and a win in the Arizona Bowl would give them their first undefeated season since 1939. This is Brennan’s first Eddie Robinson Award finalist honor and the first for the Spartans.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State: The Cyclones (8-3) were the Big 12 regular-season champions, earning a league title for the first time since 1912, and played in their first Big 12 Championship game. Of the Cyclones’ 22 starters, nine of them were All-Big 12 First Team selections. Campbell, the Big 12 Coach of the Year in his fifth season in Ames, led Iowa State to a school-record eight conference wins and its highest ranking (No. 6 in the CFP) in any poll in its history. A win in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl over Oregon would give the Cyclones their first nine-win season since 2000. This is Campbell’s first Eddie Robinson Award finalist honor and the first for the Cyclones.

Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers (11-0), picked to finish last in the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division, captured the nation’s attention in the first week with a 38-23 win at Kansas, swept their eight conference games plus two more for the first unbeaten season in school history and the first in Sun Belt history. In only its fourth year as a full-time FBS member, Coastal Carolina won its first conference championship, earned its first national ranking (No. 9/11 this week with 10 straight weeks in both polls), its first College Football Playoff ranking (No. 12 in final poll) and defeated two Top-25 teams, including then-No. 8 BYU, 22-17 on Dec. 5. CCU’s current 12-game win streak dating back to last season is tied with No. 1 Alabama for the longest in the nation. The Sun Belt Conference’s Coach of the Year in his third season at the Coastal Carolina helm is the school’s first Eddie Robinson Award finalist. He and defensive end Tarron Jackson, a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist, are Coastal’s first finalists for any FWAA postseason award.

Karl Dorrell, Colorado: The Buffaloes (4-1) were one of nine undefeated teams heading into the final two weeks of the regular season and were ranked in the Dec. 7 polls for the first time since October of 2018. Dorrell, in his first season at CU, is the fifth head coach in school history to open 4-0 in his first season and just the second since 1905. Colorado jumped out 3-0 in league play for the first time as a Pac-12 member, making Dorrell the first CU coach to win his first three conference games since 1941. The Buffs will play in the Valero Alamo Bowl, their first bowl game since 2016. This is Dorrell’s second finalist nomination, having also achieved it in 2005 while at UCLA. Colorado has had two previous Eddie Robinson Award winners, most recently Mike MacIntyre in 2016 and Bill McCartney in 1989.

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati: The Bearcats (9-0) won their first outright league title since 2009 and their first American Athletic Conference Championship. Cincinnati is No. 8 in the final CFP rankings and will play in its first New Year’s Six bowl and its first New Year’s Day bowl since the 2009 season when the Bearcats battle Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The Bearcats have one of the nation’s top defenses that ranks in the top 15 in five categories, including second in team interceptions (15) and seventh in scoring defense, giving up only 16 points per game. Fickell, the American’s Coach of the Year in his fourth season at UC, has earned Cincinnati’s first finaliist nod since 2009 when Brian Kelly, now at Notre Dame, earned the designation. Cincinnati has never had an Eddie Robinson Award winner.

Nick Saban, Alabama: The Crimson Tide (11-0) completed their fifth undefeated regular season under Saban and earned the top seed in the College Football Playoff with impressive scoring margins through an all-SEC schedule. Alabama is the only team in SEC history to win 10 conference games in a season while averaging 49.5 points per game in the 10-game regular season and became the first SEC team to post five 50-point games in SEC play. Saban, in his 14th season in Tuscaloosa, has coached more games (84) as the AP’s No. 1 team than any other active head coach and will face Notre Dame in a national semifinal in Arlington, Texas. A two-time Eddie Robinson Award winner (at Alabama in 2008, at LSU in 2003), he is one of Alabama’s two previous winners along with Gene Stallings in 1992. He is now a seven-time finalist, earning the designation in four of the last seven seasons.

Kalani Sitake, BYU: The Cougars (10-1) earned their first 10-win season since 2011 navigating through an oft-altered and harried schedule. BYU is the only FBS team in the top 10 in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense and total defense. The Cougars are in the top 10 in 14 statistical categories overall and have qualified for a 38th bowl game in program history. Sitake, in his fifth season at BYU, is the school’s second finalist and first since Bronco Mendenhall in 2006. LaVell Edwards is BYU’s only previous winner in 1984.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson: The Tigers (10-1) qualified for the College Football Playoff for a sixth consecutive season, heading into their national semifinal game against Ohio State in New Orleans. Swinney and Clemson became the first team in any active conference to win six consecutive outright titles (tied with Oklahoma). Clemson, heading to its 16th consecutive bowl game, has won 10 games for a school-record 10th consecutive season after avenging its only loss to Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game. The Tigers are 18-8 under Swinney in rematches of losses during his career. Swinney, in his 13th season at Clemson, is now a six-time finalist and the only repeat finalist from a year ago; he is among the finalists for a fourth consecutive season and the fifth time in six seasons (also 2015 and ’11). Danny Ford is Clemson’s only previous winner from the 1981 national championship season.

The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 96 Hall of Fame players, 50 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 86-year history. The 87th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is scheduled to be played on Jan. 1, 2021 between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit AllstateSugarBowl.org.

The Football Writers Association of America, founded in 1941, consists of 1,300 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

Related links:
• All-time Eddie Robinson Award winners, finalists
• Eddie Robinson Award: Logo (.jpg) | Photo

Finalists for 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy announced

Five defensive standouts will vie for National Defensive Player of the Year

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Five finalists for the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy representing five conferences, the top two teams in the current College Football Playoff rankings and two others from nationally-ranked Group of Five schools, were named Wednesday by the Football Writers Association of America and the Charlotte Touchdown Club.

These are the candidates for the award honoring college football’s national defensive player of the year. Each of the five finalists – two linebackers, a defensive end, a defensive tackle and a cornerback – plays for a nationally-ranked team, four of which will play in their conference championship games and includes the first finalist from the Sun Belt Conference.

In alphabetical order, the finalists are Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins, Coastal Carolina defensive end Tarron Jackson, Iowa defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon, Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

The recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy presented by LendingTree will be chosen from these finalists. The FWAA All-America Committee, after voting input from the association’s entire membership, selects the best defensive player in college football. The announcement of the 2020 Bronko Nagurski Trophy recipient will take take place on Wed., Dec. 23, two weeks from today.

Here is a look at the 2020 finalists:

Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa (6-4, 260, Jr., Hominy, Okla.): Collins is one of the most dynamic linebackers in the nation. He earned the American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week four times after his seven games this season and the Bronko Nagurski Player of the Week award the week of Nov. 14. Heading into the AAC Championship Game, Collins has 11.5 tackles for loss and ties for fifth nationally with four interceptions – tops among linebackers along with two others – one of which he returned 96 yards for a touchdown in overtime for the winning score against Tulane, and another that was a game-clincher against then-No. 19 SMU. In Tulsa’s opening games against then-No. 11 Oklahoma State and the following week’s No. 11 UCF, he combined for 7.5 TFL’s, 3.0 sacks and a tackle for a safety. Collins is Tulsa’s first Nagurski Trophy finalist. The American Athletic Conference has Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich as a former winner in 2015, and Collins is the AAC’s fourth all-time finalist, the most recent being Houston tackle Ed Oliver in 2017.

Tarron Jackson, DE, Coastal Carolina (6-2, 260, Sr., Aiken, S.C.): Jackson leads the Chanticleers’ defense with 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss and is fifth on the team with 44 total tackles with 15 quarterback hurries. He is a three-time Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week, spearheading a defense that has a nose for the ball with 32.0 sacks (fifth nationally) and 66.0 TFL’s this season. Teams run to the other side away from this team captain who is Coastal’s career leader in sacks (26.5), TFL’s (43.0) and hurries (31) as well as yards lost from those stops. The 10-0 Chanticleers’ rise to their first national ranking, first division championship, first wins (two) over nationally-ranked teams and first 10-win season has his footprint on it, as do opposing backfields. Jackson is Coastal Carolina’s first Nagurski Trophy finalist and the first in Sun Belt Conference history. Jackson, together with Collins, gives Group of Five schools six all-time Nagurski Trophy finalists; it’s also the the first time that two non-Power 5 finalists have been so recognized in the same season.

Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa (6-3, 305, Jr., Kenosha, Wis.): Nixon is the rare playmaker tucked in the middle of Iowa’s line. He has broken through consistent double-teams to lead the Big Ten with 5.0 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in just seven games in his first season on the Iowa front. His 36 tackles are tied for the most among Big Ten defensive linemen. Nixon opened the season with seven tackles at Purdue and then posted a career-high 11 against West Division champion Northwestern, and his 71-yard interception return for a touchdown at Penn State remains a national season highlight. Iowa has not had a Nagurski Trophy winner but linebackers Josey Jewell (2017) and Pat Angerer (2009) are recent finalists. A Nixon win would give the Big Ten consecutive honorees after not having a trophy winner since 2006 and Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis. Ohio State defensive end Chase Young won last year.

Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame (6-1, 215, Sr., Hampton, Va.): A top linebacker and one of the country’s best ball hawks, Owusu-Koramoah leads the unbeaten and second-ranked Irish in tackles (49 with 32 solos) and tackles for loss (9.0) along with 1.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and an interception. Listed as a rover linebacker, Owusu-Koramoah earned the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Player of the Week (Nov. 7) following the Irish’s win over No. 1 Clemson, posting nine tackles, two TFL’s, a half-sack in overtime that helped stall Clemson’s final possession, and the first touchdown of his career on a 23-yard scoop-and-score early in that game. Notre Dame has one previous winner, linebacker Manti Te’o in 2012, while cornerback Shane Walton was a finalist in 2002. An Owusu-Koramoah win would give the ACC two of the last four winners (N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb in 2017) and five of the last 11.

Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama (6-2, 202, Jr., Plantation, Fla.): Surtain is regarded as the nation’s top cornerback and presents a consistent wall out on the edge, having allowed 25 yards or fewer in eight of nine games this season. Teams have targeted him only 36 times with 14 completions over nine games and he has allowed only one touchdown this season. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 50.2 when targeting Surtain in coverage, fifth-best in the FBS. Against pass-happy Mississippi State, Surtain was targeted once in 47 attempts, and the junior turned it into a 25-yard pick-six. Top-ranked Alabama has had one Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner, defensive end Jonathan Allen in 2016. The Crimson Tide has had a finalist in nine of the last 10 seasons, most recently nose guard Quinnen Williams (2018), safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (2017) and linebacker Reuben Foster (2016). Going back to cornerback Antonio Langham in the award’s first year in 1993, five of Alabama’s 12 all-time finalists have come from the secondary. A Surtain win would give the SEC three of the last five honorees (Allen in 2016, Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen in 2018).

The FWAA has chosen a National Defensive Player of the Year since 1993. In 1995, the FWAA named the award in honor of the legendary two-way player from the University of Minnesota. Nagurski dominated college football then became a star for professional football’s Chicago Bears in the 1930s. Bronislaw “Bronko” Nagurski is a charter member of both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,300 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

About the Charlotte Touchdown Club

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, N.C., region. The club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding citizenship, scholarship, sportsmanship, and leadership of area athletes and coaches. Since 1990, the club has raised more than $2 million to benefit area high school and collegiate athletics. For more information, contact John Rocco (704-347-2918 or jrocco@touchdownclub.com). The official website of the Charlotte Touchdown Club is touchdownclub.com.

About LendingTree, Inc.

LendingTree is the nation’s leading online marketplace that connects consumers with the choices they need to be confident in their financial decisions. LendingTree empowers consumers to shop for financial services the same way they would shop for airline tickets or hotel stays, by comparing multiple offers from a nationwide network of over 500 partners in one simple search and choosing the option that best fits their financial needs. Services include mortgage loans, mortgage refinances, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, student refinances, credit cards, insurance and more. Through the My LendingTree platform, consumers receive free credit scores, credit monitoring and recommendations to improve credit health. My LendingTree proactively compares consumers’ credit accounts against offers on their network and notifies consumers when there is an opportunity to save money. LendingTree’s purpose is to help simplify financial decisions for life’s meaningful moments through choice, education and support.

Related link:

Army’s West nominated for Courage Award 1

DALLAS — Army’s Amadeo West is this week’s nominee for the 2020 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. West, a defensive end, has overcome three season-ending injuries to become a key piece of the Black Knights’ defense.

Amadeo West

“Just a dream come true,” West said of his success this season. “I can’t express how fortunate and blessed I’ve been just to go out this year and represent this institution, especially the past three years with injuries. Coming back this year and just playing for my teammates, playing for my family and playing for God has made me so blessed.”

West missed the entire 2017 season with an ACL tear. He missed the first eight games of the 2018 season with a ruptured Achilles. And in the third game of 2019, he tore his biceps, costing him the final 10 games of the season.

The Oceanside, Calif., native decided to give football another go and was granted a fifth year of eligibility by the Academy. He has been a huge part of Army’s turnaround in 2020, as the program has rebounded from a 5-8 season in 2019 to start 7-2 this fall.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound West has 18 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry for a defense that ranks No. 4 nationally entering Saturday’s game against rival Navy.

A team captain, West is a semifinalist for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year and a candidate for the Senior Class Award.

West graduates Thursday, which means he will take the Michie Stadium field against the Midshipmen this weekend as a lieutenant.

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 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: youth sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2021. The Orange Bowl also led a community-wide effort to bring the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship to South Florida. It will be played on Jan. 11, 2021 (2021miami.com). For more information on the 2020-2021 Orange Bowl events, including promotional 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 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

2020 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Oct. 28: Jon Dietzen, Wisconsin

  • Nov. 4: Alex Charlton, Arkansas State
  • Nov. 11: D’Eriq King, Miami
  • Nov. 18: Kentucky football team
  • Nov. 25: Chase Allen, Iowa State
  • Dec. 2: Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt
  • Dec. 9: Amadeo West, Army

2020 Outland Trophy semifinalists unveiled

Six standout interior linemen tabbed by FWAA

OMAHA — Six semifinalists for the 75th Anniversary Outland Trophy – five offensive linemen and one defensive tackle – were announced Monday by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee. The semifinalists include two teammates and are players from five schools at four different positions representing three different conferences.

The Outland Trophy is awarded annually to the nation’s best college interior lineman on offense or defense. The All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) selected the semifinalists from nominations by the membership.

The field for the 2020 Outland Trophy is as follows: guard Wyatt Davis of Ohio State, center Landon Dickerson of Alabama, offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg of Notre Dame, guard Kenyon Green of Texas A&M, offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood of Alabama and defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon on Iowa.

The six semifinalists will be pared to three finalists on Dec. 22. The recipient of the 75th Outland Trophy will be announced during ESPN’s The Home Depot College Football Awards on Jan. 7, 2021. The official presentation to the winner by the Greater Omaha Sports Committee is still to be determined.

Here is a closer look at each of the semifinalists:

Wyatt Davis, G, Ohio State (6-4, 315, Jr., Bellflower, Calif.): Davis is at the forefront of an offensive line that guides one of the country’s most explosive offenses. The Buckeyes in five games played are fourth nationally in scoring offense at 46.6 points per game and sixth nationally in total offense at 536.4 ypg while leading the Big Ten in rushing at 233.2 ypg. The interior protection by Davis, a second-team FWAA All-American last year, has been stellar as Justin Fields moved to fourth in the nation in quarterback efficiency while completing 79 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns against only three interceptions. Ohio State has four Outland winners in its past, started off by guard Jim Parker in 1956. Middle guard Jim Stillwagon (1970) and offensive tackles John Hicks (1973) and Orlando Pace (1996) have won it since. Center Billy Price is the Buckeyes’ most recent semifinalist in 2017.

Landon Dickerson, C, Alabama (6-6, 325, Sr., Hickory, N.C.): Dickerson, a Florida State transfer, has made the most of his only season calling the blocking assignments up front for the Crimson Tide. Alabama is third nationally in scoring at 49.2 points per game – tops among schools playing five of more games – and has averaged 548.3 yards per game (4th nationally) while topping 500 yards in six of nine games. Setting things up front each play, Dickerson has helped Alabama establish national leaders at all three skill positions. The Crimson Tide claims two of the last four Outland winners, one on each side of the ball. Quinnen Williams, a defensive tackle, won in 2018, and offensive tackle Cam Robinson won the 2016 award. Alabama has not had a center win the Outland but Barrett Jones was a finalist in 2012 after winning the Outland as an offensive tackle in 2011, and center Ryan Kelly was a semifinalist in 2015. Alabama’s five Outland winners are tied with Oklahoma for the second-most all-time (Nebraska, 9).

Liam Eichenberg, OT, Notre Dame (6-6, 302, Gr., Cleveland, Ohio): Eichenberg anchors a talented offensive front that currently leads the ACC in fewest sacks allowed per game (1.67, and 15 total) while also second in the ACC in rushing offense (229.7 ypg). Three different running backs have totaled seven 100-yard games this season and ball control has allowed the Irish to only trail for 38:10 minutes out of a total 540 minutes of regulation. Eichenberg’s protection has given quarterback Ian Book the extra time to attempt 237 passes without an interception, tied for the longest stretch among FBS signal-callers. Notre Dame has had three Outland winners, the most recent being defensive end Ross Browner in 1976 (also guard Bill Fischer in 1948 and tackle George Connor in 1946). In 2017 guard Quenton Nelson was a finalist and offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey was a semifinalist.

Kenyon Green, G, Texas A&M (6-4, 325, So., Humble, Texas): Green has led the Aggies into national prominence by allowing quarterback Kellen Mond to set school passing records while also paving the way for an underrated running attack. He’s the best among an offensive line which is fifth in the nation and leads the SEC allowing just 0.5 sacks per game and 4.0 total on the season. The line’s 4.0 TFL’s allowed per game is also top-10 nationally as Mond has set six career passing records, including wins as a quarterback. Texas A&M has an Outland winner from 2012 in offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, and offensive tackle Jake Matthews was a finalist in 2013.

Alex Leatherwood, OT, Alabama (6-6, 312, Sr., Pensacola, Fla.): At times the Crimson Tide offense is so fast and fluid you can miss watching the guys up front that make it so. Leatherwood has been a standout in protection as well as blocking, allowing quarterback Mac Jones to rank in the top 10 nationally of nearly every passing statistic. The Crimson Tide has scored 35 or more points in 22 consecutive games, the longest streak in major-college football history. Four of Alabama’s five previous Outland winners have been offensive tackles – Cam Robinson (2016), Barrett Jones (2011), Andre Smith (2008) and Chris Samuels (1999) – as well as five of the Tide’s last seven finalists.

Daviyon Nixon, DT, Iowa (6-3, 305, Jr., Kenosha, Wis.): In just seven games, Nixon leads the Big Ten with 5.0 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss in his first season on the Iowa front. His 36 tackles are tied for the most among Big Ten defensive linemen. Nixon opened the season with seven tackles at Purdue and then posted a career-high 11 against division champion Northwestern, and his 71-yard interception return for a touchdown at Penn State remains a national season highlight. The Hawkeyes have four Outland winners in their past, most recently offensive tackle Brandon Scherff in 2014. Offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs was a semifinalist last season. Offensive tackle Robert Gallery (2003), tackle Alex Karras (1957) and guard Calvin Jones (1955) are other winners.

The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually by the FWAA since 1946, is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1800s. The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest major college football award. Created in 1946 when Dr. John Outland presented the FWAA with a financial contribution to initiate the award, the Outland Trophy has been given to the best interior lineman in college football ever since. Dr. Outland, an All-American at the University of Pennsylvania in the late 1890s, eventually took up practice in Kansas City, Mo. An avid outdoorsman, Dr. Outland believed linemen did not get the credit they deserved and wanted an award to recognize them.

The Outland Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 24 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org to learn more about our story.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

 

Dellenger named FWAA Beat Writer of Year

DALLAS — Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated has been named the 2020 Steve Ellis Beat Writer of the Year (for the 2019) season by the Football Writers Association of America.

Ross Dellenger

In the most recently completed FWAA Best Writing Contest, Dellenger picked up a first place in Game Story and a second place for Feature Story, both stories dealing with LSU’s national championship season. He is the 10th annual winner of the award which goes to an FWAA member who has displayed excellence in college football writing during a season.

“I am humbled beyond words,” Dellenger said of winning the FWAA Award. “I’m not sure that I’ve ever felt more fortunate and proud. I pride myself in my work and this helps justify all the long hours on the road, in the press box and behind lit computer screens pounding on keys in the middle of the night.”

The award is given in the memory of the late Steve Ellis, the Florida State beat writer for the Tallahassee Democrat. Current FWAA President Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com, then of the Cleveland Plain Dealer was the first recipient in 2011. Other recipients have been Mark Blaudschun of the Boston Globe and Steve Wieberg of USA Today (2012), Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News (2013), Tim May of the Columbus Dispatch (2014), Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times (2015), Jason Kersey of The Oklahoman (2016), Mike Griffith of SEC Country (2017), Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com and Chris Vannini of The Athletic (2018), Brett McMurphy of Stadium (2019).

“Ross is certainly an outstanding talent, combining excellent writing with detailed and thorough reporting,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “When LSU’s football team ascended to the national championship level in 2019, he showcased those abilities in covering most of the Tigers’ top moments with a flair. Overall, his breaking coverage of college football has been top-notch for a while now.”

 A native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and a Mississippi State graduate, Dellenger has spent the last 15 years as a sports writer, specifically reporting on SEC football. He’s covered programs such as Mississippi State, Auburn, Missouri and LSU before landing at Sports Illustrated in May of 2018 as national college football writer. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Elizabeth, a fellow journalist. She is the lead White House correspondent for Newsweek.

 Getting to Know Ross Dellenger

Question: What was your first interest in sports/journalism and any good stories about how you got your start?

Dellenger: “My career started with an interest in sports before journalism came along. My father was and still is a high school football coach in Biloxi, Miss. I grew up around the sport as a kid — riding on team busses, running through locker rooms and playing around on blocking dummies. But I wasn’t athletic at all, couldn’t catch much and was rail thin. I played football for two years as a 6-foot, 160-pound offensive guard (spoiler alert: that didn’t turn out well). But I did develop a love for watching the game from the sidelines, and I began stringing for a local newspaper as a senior in high school.”

Q: Who were your mentors and what did they contribute to your career? 

 Dellenger: “I think the best sports editor I ever had was Rusty Hampton at The Clarion-Ledger. I’ve had plenty of other great bosses —  and do now at SI —  but Rusty really broke me in as a sports writer, teaching me more about reporting than actual writing. He was hard on us, and I’m thankful for that to this day.

“Ian Rapoport, now famously working as an NFL news-breaker for NFL Network, was once a small-town college beat writer in Mississippi, and he mentored me there, while covering Mississippi State for The Clarion-Ledger (I was a student at State then). I learned a lot about writing from Ian, a noted wordsmith who sadly doesn’t use that skill much longer (aside from Twitter of course!).

“There are plenty more people I idolized (and still do) in the industry, those I read closely and have watched their work ethic and reporting up close, including Kyle Veazey, Rick Cleveland, Pat Forde, David Brandt and, maybe most importantly, Elizabeth Crisp, my wife, whose vocabulary, concise writing and intellect I envy every day.”

Q: What are some of the stories you have done that have been the most rewarding to you? 

 Dellenger: “I think breaking news —  whether through short bursts on social media or woven into a deep investigative feature or enterprise story — is essential to journalism. To that end, some big news stories over the years stick out over everything else, including reporting Les Miles’ firing from LSU in 2016 and Ed Orgeron’s hire there as the full-time coach. Those were significant news-breakers for a young college beat writer and without them, I’m not sure I am in my current position at SI.

“But more specific to the ‘rewarding’ portion of the question. I pride myself in digging deep on issues, writing long, detailed stories on interesting people or topics. In a way, that’s a lost art in sports journalism these days. The world is so caught up in catching clicks and driving traffic that we’ve forgotten a cornerstone of our industry: explanatory writing that sheds light and reveals information never previously explored. As a beat writer, I tried to write one of those stories once a week, which could be very difficult during the season given other daily beat writing duties, but my boss at The Advocate in Baton Rouge, Joe Schiefelbein, gave me the time and resources to do this. My current bosses at SI, namely Ryan Hunt, has done the same.”

Q: Best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?

 Dellenger: ” ‘Write like you talk.’ That’s from Ian Rapoport. ‘Don’t try to be cute with your writing. Put down the thesaurus. Put away the dictionary. And write in simple terms. Your reader will appreciate it.’”

Q: Best interview you ever had and why?

Dellenger: “Talk about a difficult question. … I don’t know where to start. I have recency bias with this of course, but LSU coach Ed Orgeron’s mother, Coco, provided an incredible two-hour interview in December that triggered me to explore the coach’s Cajun heritage. She cried, laughed and even grew slightly perturbed during the sitdown — all signs of a great interview!

“But there have been plenty of others. Again, recency bias here, but I spent a full day two years ago with Dana Holgorsen. The day and night included boozing at the bar, watching a Houston Astros game and a sitdown in his office. A word of advice: You can understand a person more when experiencing them outside of their work arenas. That was the case with Holgorsen.

One more recent interview that sticks out took place last fall with former Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who revealed during a 20-minute talk with me that he’d been rushed to the hospital earlier that year with a heart condition —  the true reason for his retirement. You don’t forget those talks.”

Q: Hobbies/passions?

Dellenger: “A former colleague of mine, who I won’t name (ah what the hell, it was Scott Rabalais at The Advocate), once told me, “Ross,” he said, “you work hard and you play hard.” That’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I like to have a good time — bars, restaurants, the beach, the club — but there’s a time to work and a time to play. My life is split between the two.

“I don’t know that I truly have many passions. I do enjoy my job, which explains why I do find myself working quite a bit. I’m growing more and more passionate with traveling (for both work and play), though the pandemic has thrown a wrench into that. I think an impending passion of mine is traveling the world, as soon as the pandemic subsides. And though I no longer live on the Gulf Coast, I do have a passion for boiling and consuming seafood, specifically crawfish, crab and shrimp. Some would say I have a passion for flip flops, which is probably quite true.

“My hobbies are pretty limited. I enjoy a good weight-lifting session, a bike ride and fun night out on the town. I’ll never pass up an opportunity to go to a beach or, while back home, hop around the islands with family and friends.”

Q: Do you have any sports mementos in your house? Such as the press pass from the first game you covered, an old glove?   

Dellenger: “In all honesty, I do not believe I have any of that. It may come as a surprise, but I’m not the biggest sports fan. I watch college football and do enjoy it. I watch some golf and the NFL. But that’s about it. As I grow older, it interests me less and less. I’ve come to realize that sports is such a small part of our world — a great and wonderful part, full of incredible people and awesome stories — but a very small part nonetheless.”

Q: What has been the most difficult aspect of the last few months and COVID-19 in terms of covering sports?

Dellenger: “I usually spend the spring and summer visiting college campuses, building relationships with coaches and administrators, exploring potential story ideas, etc. But that didn’t happen much this year. I felt like I was back working for the Associated Press as a news intern. The virus had me springing into action. It really felt like I was a daily news reporter, each week chasing a new wrinkle regarding the virus and its impacts on a college football season.”

Q: What has the FWAA meant to you over the years?

Dellenger: “If you’re a college football writer, there is no better place to establish relationships than the FWAA. It’s a fantastic way to network, which we all know is the best way to ascend in the industry. Everyone mostly works hard. Plenty of people are good writers. Plenty more are good reporters. But who do you know and what do they think of you as a person? The FWAA is a great way to answer the latter question.”

Vanderbilt’s groundbreaking kicker nominated for Courage Award

DALLAS — Vanderbilt’s Sarah Fuller is this week’s nominee for the 2020 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Fuller, the Commodores’ place kicker, became the first woman to play in a Power 5 game this past Saturday.

Sarah Fuller

“I honestly haven’t taken a second to soak it all in, really. I just think it’s incredible that I am able to do this,” Fuller said afterward. “All I want is to be a good influence to the young girls out there because there were times that I struggled in sports, but I am so thankful I stuck with it. It’s giving me so many opportunities, and I’ve met so many amazing people through sports.

“I just want to say, literally, you can do anything you set your mind to — that’s the No. 1 thing.”

Fuller took the opening kickoff of the third quarter of Vanderbilt’s loss at Missouri, becoming the first woman to officially play in a major conference football game. She kicked the ball 30 yards to the Tigers’ 35-yard line on a designed pooch kick, just six days after helping Vanderbilt’s soccer team win the SEC tournament title.

Fuller, the soccer team’s goalkeeper, had allowed just four goals in four games during the tournament. COVID-19 had left the Commodores’ football team without several specialists in their prep for Missouri, so the program called upon Fuller for help.

Fuller became the third woman to appear in an FBS game, joining New Mexico’s Kate Hnida and Kent State’s April Goss. She was named SEC special teams player of the week, and she is expected to be on Vanderbilt’s travel roster for this Saturday’s game at Georgia.

The Wylie, Texas, native was named to the SEC academic honor roll in 2019 and 2018 and the SEC first-year academic honor roll in 2017. Fuller started nine of 12 games for Vanderbilt’s soccer team this fall, leading the Commodores to a 7-2-0 record while posting a 0.97 goals against average, the eighth-best single-season mark in program history.

Fuller plans to transfer to North Texas, where she will play soccer for two more years and pursue her master’s degree in hospital administration.

“She wasn’t trying to set some landmark event. She was just trying to help really where she could,” Derek Mason said after the game. “There’s just a lot to be said about Sarah and her unselfishness and her ability to say, ‘OK, if called upon, if needed, I’m a Commodore and anything that I can do to help this team I’ll do it.’ She did it with a smile on her face all week.

“For her, I just think the world of her. Her ability to just be in the moment and not really be scared of the moment or afraid of the moment but just looking to dominate the moment is what she did. Hat’s off to her.”

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 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 BowlThe 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: youth sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and scholarships, and legacy gifts. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2021. The Orange Bowl also led a community-wide effort to bring the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship to South Florida. It will be played on Jan. 11, 2021 (2021miami.com). For more information on the 2020-2021 Orange Bowl events, including promotional 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 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 game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

2020 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Oct. 28: Jon Dietzen, Wisconsin

  • Nov. 4: Alex Charlton, Arkansas State
  • Nov. 11: D’Eriq King, Miami
  • Nov. 18: Kentucky football team
  • Nov. 25: Chase Allen, Iowa State
  • Dec. 2: Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt