DALLAS — Kent State’s Antwan Dixon is this week’s nominee for the 2018 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Dixon, a junior, missed the past two seasons because of aplastic anemia, a blood disorder that required a life-saving bone marrow transplant. He had led the team with 355 receiving yards as a freshman in 2015.
“I wish I could have stayed healthy and played the next year, too,” Dixon told The Athletic. “It would have been a really good year coming off a good freshman year. But everything happens for a reason.”
Dixon caught six passes for 36 yards in the Golden Flashes’ loss Saturday to Ohio. He has 25 catches this season for 234 yards and one touchdown.
Dixon has spent the past five years battling the disease, undergoing blood transfusions and taking medication to get things under control. He missed his junior year of high school and the last game of his freshman year at Kent State, having to return home to Fort Myers, Fla. Dixon underwent a bone marrow transplant in 2017. He returned to Kent State in January but was not cleared to play until the summer.
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 Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon (2017) 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 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on December 29, 2018. For more information on the 2018-19 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.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 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 email@example.com.
2018 Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
• Sept. 12: John Schlarman, Kentucky
• Sept. 19: Nic Weishar, Notre Dame
• Sept. 26: Rex Culpepper, Syracuse
• Oct. 3: Caleb Farley, Virginia Tech
• Oct. 10: Antwan Dixon, Kent State