Hawai`i's Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea Nominated for Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award


Homepage-Slideshow_CourageWeek7_MakaniHawai‘i’s Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea is this week’s nominee for the 2016 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.

Kema-Kaleiwahea grew up on O‘ahu as the oldest in an adoptive family of six kids. After receiving a football scholarship to the University of Arizona, his family followed him to Tucson, Ariz. Soon after, at the age of 18, he learned his five siblings were in an abusive environment and he became their caregiver, even though he was a full-time student-athlete.

After marrying in 2014, he and his wife, Brianna, found assistance from extended family members, who adopted three of the children. Makani and Brianna adopted his other two siblings. Kema-Kaleiwahea and his family returned home in 2015, as Makani transferred to Hawai‘i to bring the siblings and extended family closer together.

A 6-foot-3, 240-pound redshirt senior lineman, Kema-Kaleiwahea has 27 tackles this season, including two sacks. The defensive lineman has started all eight games for the Rainbow Warriors, and he tallied four stops in this past Saturday’s 34-27 double-overtime upset win at Air Force.

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 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).


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