Ohio State’s Cousineau will receive 2018 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award Reply

 Charlotte, N.C. — The Charlotte Touchdown Club in conjunction with the Football Writers Association of America proudly announces Ohio State University great Tom Cousineau as the recipient of the 2018 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award, which recognizes outstanding defensive football players from the past 40 years.  The award will be presented formally during the annual Bronko Nagurski Trophy Awards Banquet presented by ACN on December 3, 2018.

College Football Hall of Fame member Tom Cousineau.

“It’s so humbling all these years later to be remembered this way  I would never had imagined football would still be pouring incredible blessings into my life like they have the last couple years and I’m just so humbled,” commented Cousineau.

Cousineau joins a growing list of prestigious Bronko Nagurski Legends Award recipients including: Alan Page, Bubba Smith, Ted Hendricks, Roger Wehrli, Mike McCoy, Jack Youngblood, Larry Jacobson, Randy Rhino, Randy White, Randy Gradishar, Chet Moeller, and Ross Browner.  Tom Cousineau was one of the most dominant linebackers in Big Ten history. He played under legendary OSU coach, Woody Hayes, from 1975 to 1978.  During that span, Ohio State had an overall record of 36-10-2 and 28-4 in the Big Ten. They also went on to win three Big Ten championships, and compete in the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Gator Bowl.  Cousinaeu was recognized as the 1977 Orange Bowl MVP after defeating the University of Colorado Buffaloes.

Cousineau’s 569 career tackles is second all-time in Ohio State history.  He still holds six school records, setting marks for single-season tackles and solo tackles during his senior campaign when he was named team MVP.  The 1978 team captain led Ohio State to three Big Ten championships, three top 12 finishes and four bowl berths, earning MVP honors after a win in the 1977 Orange Bowl.  A three-time All-Big Ten honoree, Cousineau owns six of the top 10 single-game tackling performances in school history, and he helped the Buckeyes lead the conference in total defense in 1977.  Following his senior season, he was invited to play in the Hula Bowl, where he earned Defensive MVP honors.

Cousineau became Ohio State University’s first number one overall pick in the NFL Draft when he was selected in 1979 by the Buffalo Bills.  He chose to play for Montreal of the Canadian Football League from 1979-82, earning the league’s Grey Cup MVP honor in 1979.  He would later return to the NFL, playing for the Cleveland Browns from 1982-85 and the San Francisco 49ers from 1986-87.

A 1995 Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Cousineau was the recipient of the Silver Anniversary Butkus Award in 2003.  Cousineau was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

About ACN, Inc.
Founded in 1993, ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications and essential services for residential and business customers.  ACN provides the services people need and use every day including Home Phone Service, High Speed Internet, Wireless, Television, Home Security & Automation, Computer Support and Natural Gas and Electricity. ACN operates in 25 countries with offices located throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific.  For more information, visit myacn.com

About The Independence Fund
The Independence Fund is a nonprofit organization that empowers our nation’s severely wounded veterans and the caregivers who support them to take control of their lives.  Through its dedicated mobility and treatment programs, the Fund assists veterans in transforming their lives toward a better future.  The Independence Fund believes we owe it to our veterans to provide the resources they need to move forward and build a strong foundation toward lasting emotional and physical healing in order to reestablish their independence.  To learn more, visit www.independencefund.org.

The Charlotte Touchdown Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1990 for the purpose of promoting high school, collegiate, and professional football in the Charlotte, North Carolina region.  Since its inception, the club has grown as well as diversified boasting a sponsor team of more than (80) companies.  The Club’s activities and services focus community attention on the outstanding Citizenship, Scholarship, Sportsmanship, and Leadership of area athletes and coaches.  Through individual and corporate support, more than $2,000,000 has been raised to benefit the Touchdown Club’s scholarship efforts.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of the men and women across North America who cover college football for a living.  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 an All-America team.  Through its website, the FWAA works to improve communication among all those who work within the game. The FWAA also sponsors scholarships for aspiring writers and an annual writing contest.  Behind the leadership of President David Jones and Executive Director Steve Richardson and a board of veteran journalists, the FWAA continues grow and work to help college football prosper at all levels. There are now over 1,000 members.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which was founded in 1997 as a coalition of the major collegiate football awards to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of the game’s predominant awards.  The NCFAA encourages professionalism and the highest standards for the administration of its member awards and the selection of their candidates and recipients  For more information, visit the association’s official website, www.NCFAA.org.

The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented annually by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America to the nation’s most outstanding NCAA defensive football player at the Bronko Nagurski Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.  All proceeds benefit the Charlotte Touchdown Club Scholarship Fund.  For more information call 704-347-2918 or www.touchdownclubcom.


Photo gallery: Outland Trophy presentation dinner

Photos from the Outland Trophy presentation dinner and related events on Jan. 10, 2018, in Omaha, Neb .

Photo gallery: Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception

Photos from the FWAA Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year reception on Jan. 6 in Atlanta.

ACC’s Mike Finn receives FWAA Lifetime Achievement Award

ATLANTA — Mike Finn will retire from the Atlantic Coast Conference next spring following a stellar 40-year media relations career at the league office and two of its member schools, North Carolina State and Georgia Tech.

Mike Finn

The FWAA recognizes Finn for a job well done in bestowing its Lifetime Achievement Award on a person who has worked with many of the top coaches and administrators in ACC history, as well as serviced the media in the region with a professionalism that has been very impressive.

“Mike Finn has devoted his career to serving the media,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “He has truly been the consummate professional. Whenever you needed information Mike delivered. And you knew you were getting the accurate story. You always have great confidence in Mike’s word.”

This award goes annually to a person who has been a distinguished FWAA member. Previous winners are Buddy Davis, Ruston (La.) Daily Leader; Irv Moss, Denver Post; Bill Little, University of Texas; and Art Spander, San Francisco Examiner.

“I would say without a doubt this award is the most significant I’ve received in my professional career,” Finn said. “It means everything. While you get into this business because you want to be involved in sports, you quickly find out that what’s most important are the personal relationships you make along the way.

“I’ve been fortunate to know a great many outstanding media members for a long time, especially in the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeast regions, and there is a special bond with that. To be recognized by the Football Writers, an organization I have always admired, is very special.”

Finn graduated with honors from the University of Florida with a B.A. in Psychology, but was not preparing for a career in media relations.

“I worked some in the Florida SID department (under Norm Carlson) on game days, typing play-by-play and being the official scorer in basketball,” Finn said, “but I didn’t think I could break into the business because of the competition for jobs. I had a desire to become a therapist or do community psychology.”

Finn actually did break into sports media relations at Virginia Tech, an independent in 1977-78, as a graduate assistant. He lasted there one year, before heading to ACC’s North Carolina State, still unsure where his career path would eventually go.

“My year at Virginia Tech taught me a great deal about job security,” Finn explained. “Our long-time AD retired, our head coach got fired and our (SID) Wendy Weisend, one of the most respected men in the business, was ‘reassigned’ to a different position on campus.”

The timing was perfect to move to the ACC’s North Carolina State. If Finn didn’t like the job, he planned on going to graduate school. He liked the job. Forty years later he is still in the business.

At North Carolina State, he worked for both football coach Bo Rein and basketball coach Jim Valvano, who led the Wolfpack to the NCAA basketball title in 1983. After Finn was there two years, Rein took the job at LSU and would die in a plane accident before he ever coached a game for the Tigers.

“Had he lived, Bo would have gone on to become one of the great coaches of his generation,” Finn said. “He was also terrific to work with.”

Once when Finn was interviewing Rein for the daily practice report, both were walking down the sideline when a tight end caught a pass and turned up field for more yardage instead of going out of bounds.

“Bo always loved a player doing that,” Finn recalled. “So in mid-interview, he’s left me and is sprinting down the sidelines with the player yelling encouragement. … Our safety comes over and roll blocks the tight end out of bounds, right in Bo’s path. Bo didn’t hesitate. He hurdled both players and kept on going. We never did finish that interview.”

Over the years, Finn, at the school level worked for such football coaches as Virginia Tech’s Bill Dooley, Rein and his successor at North Carolina State, Monte Kiffin, and Georgia Tech’s quadruple of Bill Curry, Bobby Ross, Bill Lewis and George O’Leary. Finn moved to Georgia Tech in 1983, right after the Wolfpack’s national basketball title, and was there 17 years before he went to the ACC office in 2000 as assistant commissioner for external relations.

His experiences in Atlanta at Georgia Tech were many. But he recalls quite vividly one of his exchanges with Georgia Tech’s Curry at the 1985 Hall of Fame Bowl versus Michigan State. Several Georgia Tech players missed curfew and Curry had sent them home, including the team’s starting quarterback and big-play wide receiver-returner. Curry summoned Finn for a meeting to do a news release about the situation.

“After he said that,” Finn explained, “I probably asked the dumbest question in my 40 years: ‘Coach, does that mean they won’t play in the game?’ Curry gave me one of those fatherly looks and said gently, ‘Yes, Mike, they won’t be playing in the game.’ No telling how Norm Sloan would have reacted, or George O’Leary for that matter.’’’

Finn’s years at the ACC office have been marked with expansion of the league in 2004 and 2013. He dealt in all things ACC Football (media days, championship games, weekly releases and communications) and at times the Bowl Championship Series Standings. He served as the BCS liaison with the FWAA in 2008 and 2009.

“I was fortunate in getting into the business to have so many great mentors from Dave Smith at Virginia Tech, who today is still my best friend, to Norm Carlson (Florida), Wendy Weisend (Virginia Tech), Jack Williams (Virginia Tech), Ed Seaman (North Carolina State), Norman Arey (Georgia Tech),” Finn said.

“All of them were or could have been excellent newsmen in addition to working in public relations and taught me a great deal about sports writing and the importance of deadlines. I’ve also had great bosses in athletics directors Willis Casey (North Carolina State), Homer Rice (Georgia Tech) and Dave Braine (Georgia Tech) and (ACC) Commissioner (John) Swofford, Mike Kelly and Amy Yakola of the ACC Staff.”

Swofford praised Finn. “Mike is well-deserving of this highly prestigious award,” he said. “He has built the best kind of career, one based on strong relationships and service. I’m so pleased the FWAA has selected Mike as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.”

Mike Griffith named FWAA Beat Writer of the Year

ATLANTA-Mike Griffith of SEC County was named the Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year during the association’s annual Awards Breakfast on Monday morning at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel.

Griffith, FWAA President in 2007 and a frequent award winner in the association’s Best Writing Contest, becomes the eighth recipient of the Steve Ellis/FWAA Beat Writer of the Year Award, which annually honors one of the best beat writers in college football. The award is named after the late Steve Ellis, a standout beat writer who covered Florida State football for the Tallahassee Democrat for a number of years.

Mike Griffith

Griffith follows previous winners Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer; Steve Wieberg, USA Today, and Mark Blaudschun, Boston Globe (co-recipients); Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News; Tim May, Columbus Dispatch; Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times;  and  Jason Kersey, Daily Oklahoman.

“Mike has been a relentless reporter on whatever beat he has covered over the years,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “Now that we are in an era of a myriad of reporting platforms, Mike has mastered the switch technique of adapting to the many different mediums.

“He’s also forever a guard of his and others’ job space in the press box. One time a couple of years ago, he was on the prowl when he was told a road SID was going to limit the time reporters could stay in the press box after a night game. The media and the FWAA are better off with a watch dog like Griff.”

Griffith fits in very well at SEC Country as its main Tennessee Vols reporter.

“On the Tennessee beat the past year, Mike has been a one-man wrecking crew,” wrote Ken Bradley, the SEC Country Deputy Sports Editor, in Griffith’s support letter. “Going up against competitors with multiple writers, he never backed down. In fact, he embraced the challenge. He stayed up late producing content to roll out the first thing the next morning. He thought of different ways to provide video content that others weren’t doing. He attacks every day the same way with the same goal — to inform, entertain and attract readers to SEC Country’s Tennessee coverage.

“A new job, with a new company mixed with modern-day digital journalism enabled me to cover college football a variety of ways this past year,” Griffith wrote.

Griffith’s duties on the Tennessee football beat include a daily podcast, attending and writing from football-related functions, Tuesday morning radio appearances on Huntsville and Nashville radio stations and Sunday morning appearances on Knoxville’s highest-rated local television sports show.

Special assignments involved travel to the homes of several signees as part of the “Next Generation” series, with Facebook Live presentation videos a part of the extensive interviews performed with recruits and their families.

In-season responsibilities also included taking pictures and setting up video to live-stream press conferences, team arrival at stadium and Facebook Live “stand-up” reports from after the head coach’s weekly press conference, as well as stand-ups from the pregame and post-game stadium field level and a co-host role on a Thursday night television show.

Griffith, a Michigan State graduate, was hired by Cox Media Group SEC Country in May 2016 after covering high-profile Michigan State football and basketball teams for MLive for four years. During his first stint in Knoxville, Griffith covered Tennessee football and basketball for the News-Sentinel for 14 years while also doing television and radio weekly.

Prior to Knoxville, Griffith covered Alabama for the Mobile Register for four years and Auburn for the Anniston Star, including Auburn’s unbeaten team in 1993. His first job out of college was covering Idaho State for the Idaho Falls Post Register. He worked all four years in college at the Lansing State Journal for Steve Klein, who went on to develop the blueprint for USA Today’s online product.

“When I think of Mike Griffith, eight words come to mind: talented, versatile, creative, hard-working, collaborative, professional and meticulous,” Bradley wrote. “If you were searching for a beat writer and could get half of those, you’d be happy. Mike brings all of that to the table every day.”


Wieberg named winner of Bert McGrane Award

ATLANTA — On the day of the fourth College Football Playoff National Championship Game, Steve Wieberg receives the FWAA’s prestigious Bert McGrane Award, tantamount to the organization’s Hall of Fame.

Wieberg will accept the McGrane Award at the FWAA’s Annual Awards Breakfast at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. It was an honor well-deserved not only for his ground-breaking role on the CFP Selection Committee, which helped determine the four playoff teams the last four years, but for his long career at USA Today from 1982 to 2012.

Steve Wieberg

“Stunned, incredibly grateful and humbled by the greats who have won it and just as much by those who haven’t,” Wieberg said upon learning he was the recipient of the award that goes to a person who has performed great service to the FWAA and/or the writing profession.

In 2014, Steve Wieberg became a past media member on the first CFP Selection Committee. After completing a four-year stint on the committee, he undoubtedly has paved the way for future past media members to be a part of one of college sports’ most influential bodies.

“Steve’s position on the committee was, well, sort of a breakthrough in college sports,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. “But it goes to show you there are those in the media who generate great respect from those they have covered over the years.

“He is certainly a person someone entering or now in the journalism field should try and emulate. He wrote stories and covered subjects with tenacity. His ability to explain complex issues in clear terms was classical. And, at the end of the day, the readers of USA Today and our profession were the big winners.”

The McGrane Award was established in 1974 as a memorial to Bert McGrane, long-time Des Moines Register-Tribune sports writer who was one of the founding members of the FWAA. He was the FWAA’s executive director from the early 1940’s until 1973.

“When we decided it would be great to have a former reporter on the selection committee, Steve came to mind immediately,” CFP Executive Director Bill Hancock said. “And he exceeded our high expectations. He contributed with his wisdom, analytical mindset and thorough research.

“Steve wasn’t labeled as a reporter by his colleagues on the committee — he was simply a respected peer,” Hancock added. “And besides all that, his self-effacing humor made working with him a real pleasure. You all know this — Steve is a great guy.”

Wieberg, editor in the public affairs department of the Kansas City Public Library since 2013, recalls what one of his fellow CFP Selection Committee members noted. “Condoleezza Rice has said repeatedly — and I think sincerely — that this is the best committee she has ever been a part of,” Wieberg said. “If it was the best for her, you can be certain it is for me.”

Wieberg said he went on the committee with two priorities. Getting the selections right would reinforce the new playoff system. “I also have been keenly aware that I would represent the writers and other media on this committee, and it has been important to me to do a good enough job to validate the CFP’s decision to give us that seat at the table,” he said.

Wieberg forged an award-winning career in journalism at USA Today. He was a frequent winner in FWAA, USBWA and Associated Press Sports Editors contests as well as a recipient of several other awards. A University of Missouri graduate, Wieberg was able to build an extensive network of relationships across the country that had few equals. He could break stories on the national stage as well provide the reader with insight as to why they were happening.

“As an original staff writer, I also took great pride and satisfaction in seeing USA Today grow form a startup in 1982 to a publication with a circulation of more than 2 million and influence on the way newspapers nationwide came to look,” he said. “I knew we’d made it when I saw a USA Today box in a street scene in Ghostbusters in 1984.”

Elizabeth Schroeder to receive Volley Meece Scholarship

Elizabeth Schroeder of Norman, OK., has been named the 21tst winner of the Volney Meece Scholarship.

The scholarship is awarded annually by the Football Writers Association of America and named for the late Volney Meece. Meece served 22 years as the FWAA’s executive director and was the organization’s president in 1971.

The scholarship is a $1,000 annual grant for four years. It is awarded to a deserving son or daughter of an FWAA member.

The 17-year-old Schroeder is the daughter of long-time FWAA member George Schroeder.

Elizabeth has compiled an impressive list of academic and extracurricular achievements in her four years at Community Christian School and in her church. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and ranks first academically in her class.

A member of the National Honor Society, student council and class treasurer, she has made the Principal’s Honor Roll her entire high school career. Elizabeth has also spent three summers working with children while on missions to Guatemala, which inspired her to pursue a degree in elementary education at the University of Oklahoma.

CCS faculty member Lee Ann Wimer wrote in her letter of recommendation: “Elizabeth is one of those extremely gifted students who cross a teacher’s classroom only a few times in their career. She is working towards top honors at graduation as Valedictorian.”

Past winners of the Volney Meece Scholarship
1997  Brett Goering  Topeka, Kan.
1998  Kelly Brooks  Denver, Colo.
1999  James Butz  Schaumberg, Ill.
2000  Sara Barnhart  Atlanta, Ga.
2001  Patrick Davis  Coventry, Conn.
2002  Jacqueline O’Toole  Gaithersburg, Md.
2003  Garrett Holtz  Denver, Colo.
2004  Katie Hersom  Oklahoma City, Okla.
2005  Katie Wieberg  Lawson, Mo.
2006  Kaylynn Monroe  Winter Park, Fla.
2007  Nate Kerkhoff  Overland Park, Kan.
2008  Jack Caywood  Lawrence, Kan.
2009  Haley Dodd  Overland Park, Kan.
2010  Donald Hunt  Philadelphia, Pa.
2011  Alaina Martens  Papillion, Neb.
2012  Emily Alford  Tupelo, Miss.
2013  Sarah Helsley  Edmond, Okla.
2014 Robert Abramson Palos Verde, Calif.
2015 Danielle Hoover Tulsa, Okla.
2016 Dolen Helwagen Pataskala, Ohio


Wisconsin’s D’Cota Dixon wins FWAA Courage Award 1

Dixon had three tackles  in Wisconsin’s 34-24 victory over Miami, Fla in the Capital One Orange Bowl this past Saturday. The Badgers finished the season 13-1. 

DALLAS – Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon is the winner of the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Dixon, a 5-foot-10, 204-pound redshirt junior, overcame an unstable family situation and personal health issues to post his second straight all-Big Ten season for the 12-1 Badgers.

D’Cota Dixon

“I’ve always had to face trials and tribulations in some form or matter,” Dixon said in a UWBadgers.com video feature in October. “Though I had relatives and family that were close, and I knew they loved me – I know they always meant the best and loved me — but I felt like nothing was ever stable. I felt like it was always somebody leaving.”

Dixon had a brother convicted of attempted murder, and he was placed in foster care as his mother struggled to provide for the family.

Dixon’s father and his father’s girlfriend, Beth Coston, took Dixon and another brother in. But as Dixon’s father’s drug addiction grew intense, Coston assumed guardianship and moved the brothers away.

“I didn’t really know my dad but I knew who he was, but I never had a true relationship with him, even when I was in Miami,” Dixon said. “But I had comfort in my mom. She loved us very much. She had a manic depression illness, so there would be times where she wasn’t home. It was just real tough when we got taken from her, but by the grace of God it was a blessing in disguise because I do have a mother named Beth who I love very much. That’s my sweetheart.”

Dixon later repaired his relationship with his father, but his father passed away. Dixon and Coston were then evicted from their home during Dixon’s senior year of high school. Dixon’s girlfriend, Grace, and her mother took Dixon in.

“The time that I had with him, that solid probably from seventh grade to ninth grade, was the best years ever,” Dixon said. “So it just hit me. It hurt me so much when he died my freshman year in high school, and really for me I felt like it was like: Here we go again. I was kind of just real numb and just real angry.

“I didn’t go to school for like two weeks. I was real mad, just frustrated.”

In the spring of 2016, Dixon spent a week in the hospital with a life-threatening infection that left him in pain and unable to walk. He recovered in time to start the season opener, which he punctuated with an interception with 57 seconds left to seal a win against No. 5 LSU. Dixon started all 14 games for the Badgers, who went 11-3 and won the Cotton Bowl.

He recorded 60 tackles, four interceptions and four pass break-ups en route to third-team All-Big Ten honors, in addition to Academic All-Big Ten honors.

Dixon picked up where he left off in 2017, fighting through a hamstring injury to play in 10 games, start eight and earn first-team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s coaches. (He was named second-team all-conference by the media.) He tallied 52 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks, to go with one interception, three breakups, one hurry and one forced fumble. He posted a game-best 12 tackles in a Sept. 30 win against Northwestern in the Big Ten opener, including a safety in the final minute to help preserve the victory – a victory that ended up being the deciding factor in the Big Ten West race.

Dixon was again an Academic All-Big Ten honoree, and the No. 6 Badgers ran the regular-season table before the Big Ten title game. They entered bowl season with the nation’s No. 1 defense (253.2 yards per game).

“This is a tremendous honor for D’Cota,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “I really admire the way he approaches and appreciates life. With what he has gone through, for him to have such a positive outlook and be so willing to help others is a real testament to his character and his faith. He is intent on maximizing all of his opportunities. The best thing I can say about D’Cota is that if you spend any amount of time around him, he makes you want to be a better person, because of how he carries himself and his genuine care for others.”

Though Dixon had eventually moved with his brother and Coston to Oak Hill, Florida, he is a South Florida native. And he will be returning to the area for the Badgers’ finale, as they take on No. 11 Miami on Dec. 30 in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

“I feel like my hardships and trials have built me to who I am today and I’m proud of them,” Dixon said. “I wouldn’t take nothing back. I wouldn’t change one thing, not one single event that ever happened in my life. I’m grateful for them, in all honesty.”

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. James Conner will be included in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his trophy at an on-field presentation during the Capital One Orange Bowl game between No. 6 Michigan and No. 11 Florida State on Dec. 30.

Previous winners of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award are Pittsburgh 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 360-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 December 30, 2017. For more information on the 2017-18 Orange Bowl events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org. Follow Orange Bowl: @OrangeBowl, Facebook and Instagram.

More on Dixon from landof10.com.