DALLAS — The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) is now accepting nominations for the 4th Edward Aschoff Rising Star Award.
To submit nominations for this award, please send a paragraph or two about the nominee, including why you are nominating him or her, and three-four links of work samples to Committee Co-Chairs Heather Dinich at firstname.lastname@example.org. and Andrea Adelson at
Please include your name, job title, and a phone number. The birthdate of the individual who is being nominated also should be included. A panel of FWAA members will choose the winner. Entries should be submitted by May 15, 2023.
Aschoff, a beloved ESPN college football reporter, died on Christmas Eve, 2019 – his 34th birthday – from previously undetected Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his lungs.
He was a bright light in our industry, who the FWAA now honors with this award going to a promising journalist no older than 34 who has not only the talent and work ethic it takes to succeed in this business but also the passion to make it better. A 2008 graduate of the University of Florida, Aschoff loved people, and even as his career at ESPN escalated, he still guided and befriended younger journalists along the way.
In 2017, Aschoff moved to Los Angeles to begin a more expanded national role that included television coverage. He reported from campuses across the country for ESPN.com, SportsCenter, SEC Network and ESPN Radio, and he worked as a television and radio sideline reporter during college football games. Aschoff inspired us through his storytelling, brightened our lives with his gregarious personality and uplifted our spirits with his energy. The FWAA hopes to honor his memory and his commitment to aspiring journalists with this award.
“Edward epitomized everything you want in a sports journalist: He knew how to build relationships, to gain trust, to break stories but also to tell stories” said ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson. “And he did it all with a flair that made you want to watch his television pieces or read his written stories right away. His dogged determination and relentless work ethic allowed him to rise to the top at ESPN, and all his exemplary qualities serve as a model for young journalists everywhere about what truly can be achieved if you go after what you want.”
David Ubben of The Athletic was named the first recipient of the award in 2020 and Grace Raynor, also of The Athletic, was the second in 2021. Last year, Richard Johnson of Sports Illustrated became the third recipient.
Ubben, the FWAA’s 2022 President, has covered Tennessee football and other college assignments for The Athletic since May of 2018. After graduating from Missouri in 2009 he was the Oklahoma Sooners beat writer for The Oklahoman before leaving to write about Big 12 football at ESPN.com for three and half years.
Ubben then spent another two years at Fox Sports Southwest writing columns about Big 12 sports and serving as a television analyst.
Ubben was a freelancer and launched his own podcast in 2015. In 2018, he went to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football before moving from Dallas to Knoxville later that year to join The Athletic fulltime.
“Rising star only begins to describe Ed,” Ubben said. “Like he did, I want to pass down what I have learned, make this profession better and do what I can to make sure there are plenty of other Ed Aschoffs writing about college football in the decades to come.”
Raynor, originally from Morganton, North Carolina, graduated from UNC’s journalism school after working for The Daily Tar Heel for four years. She also interned with The Fayetteville Observer and MLB.com twice, the latter through the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM). After her second MLB.com internship, she freelanced before getting her first job at The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.
Raynor covered general assignment sports for The Post and Courier before moving to the Upstate of South Carolina to cover Clemson. She has covered Clemson for The Athletic since 2019.
“Unfortunately, I never met Ed, but I feel like I’ve gotten to know him through my friends and colleagues who were lucky enough to spend time with him,” Raynor said. “In every story I’ve ever heard about him, I have learned that in addition to being an incredible reporter, Ed was a model for us about how to treat people. I’ve heard so many stories about his kindness, his big smile, the way he made people feel and how he would do anything to help a young reporter coming up in our industry.”
Johnson, also a Florida graduate like Aschoff, began his career at ESPN in 2015 and later joined SB Nation as a national college football writer the following year. He spent four years working for the site before starting at SI in the fall of 2021.
“Ed is a prime example of how representation matters,” Johnson says. “There are unfortunately too few Black people covering the sport, and for as long as I’d known him, seeing Ed on television or his byline on the website, was proof positive that he had made it in this industry and that I could too. You could say I basically followed his blueprint from UF’s journalism school to covering the Gators all the way to ESPN.”
– 30 –