Memphis' La'Andre Thomas named as Tenth Nominee for 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award



MIAMI LAKES, Fla. – Memphis’ La'Andre Thomas is this week’s nominee for the 2019 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Thomas, a redshirt sophomore defensive back, overcame a significant shoulder injury and numerous childhood obstacles to become a defensive staple for the Tigers.

“I’m still learning, I’m just taking it day-by-day,” Thomas told the Daily Memphian. 

Thomas suffered a nerve injury in his shoulder in September 2018, which limited him to just four games.

Thomas grew up in a house with nine other people and limited resources after an aunt took him and his older brother Akeem in when he was in first grade, according to the Daily Memphian. Two of 10 total siblings, La'Andre and Akeem were placed with a foster parent when La'Andre was in seventh grade.

La'Andre became a father this summer to Laila Thomas, and he is set on providing her a better situation than the one he grew up in.

On the field, Thomas has played in all 10 games for the 9-1 Tigers and is second on the team in tackles. He has posted 50 stops (including 2 TFLs) to go with one interception, one forced fumble, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry.

Thomas had two tackles in this past Saturday’s 45-27 win at Houston. Memphis is in a three-way tie for first place in the American Athletic Conference West division.

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.


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