Colorado defensive end Marquez Herrod is the weekly nominee for the 2010 Discover Orange Bowl-Football Writers’ Association of America Courage Award, to be announced at the end of the season. Herrod, a senior from San Diego, Calif., has overcome a troubled childhood to succeed on the field and off.
Herrod, a fifth-year senior, was homeless for a time as a child, reduced to sleeping on a bus stop bench and begging for change from strangers. He never met his biological father, was abused as a toddler by a stepfather, and later was taken from his mother by the state.
After his mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Herrod was sent initially to a children’s home, and then lived in several different foster homes.
“I just didn’t want to go wrong,” he told the Denver Post. I wanted to settle down with a family. I just wanted to graduate from high school.”
Herrod is on pace to graduate from college in December with a 3.0-plus grade point average. He’ll earn degrees in psychology and business management.
Herrod didn’t begin playing football until high school, but quickly developed into a highly touted defensive end prospect. As a senior, he’s sharing time in a rotation at defensive end. He has two tackles this season. His goal is to play pro football, but he also hopes to help children who grow up in situations similar to his past.
“To me, it’s a resurrection story,” Herrod’s pastor, John Roberts, told the Boulder Daily Camera. “The circumstances could have made him bitter, but it made him better.”
For the fifth straight year, the Football Writers Association of America and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the winner from all of the nominees. The winner of the Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award will be announced in December and be presented with the trophy.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine’s senior writer Gene Wojciechowski, also a FWAA member. 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.
Previous winners of the FWAA’s Courage Award are 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).
The Orange Bowl Committee is a not-for-profit, 330-member, primarily-volunteer organization. It is a self-sustaining, independent organization that supports and produces activities and events that enhance the image, economy and culture of South Florida. The Orange Bowl Festival features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the FedEx Orange Bowl on January 5, 2010. In 2013, the OBC will again double-host both the FedEx Orange Bowl and the BCS National Championship. Other OBC core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships and Orange Bowl Sailing Regatta Series. For more information on the 2009-10 Orange Bowl Festival and its events, including promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program, log on to www.orangebowl.org.
The Football Writers Association of America, a non-profit organization founded in 1941, consists of more than 1,000 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, a national poll and its annual All-America team.
2010 Discover Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
· Sept. 29: Zac Etheridge, Auburn, and Rodney Scott, Ole Miss
· Oct. 6: Jon Hoese, Minnesota
· Oct. 13: Marquez Herrod, Colorado