Michigan State's Tyson Smith Nominated for Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award
Michigan State’s Tyson Smith is this week’s nominee for the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Smith, a junior, has overcome a stroke he suffered last Nov. 28 to play in every game for the Spartans this season.
Smith initially gave himself a 30 percent chance of playing football again following his stroke, which he had discovered he suffered through an MRI following a debilitating headache. The pain did not subside until March.
He missed winter conditioning and spring ball. His memory had taken a hit, and he did not fully have it all back until the spring. He was not cleared to return to football until just before fall camp.
In MSU’s first game of the season, Smith, a cornerback, picked off a Bowling Green pass and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.
“The feeling when I stepped on the field, it was more than football, it was a blessing,” Smith said after his first game back. “I’m still me and I felt normal, but I didn't know for sure if I was normal. It's just a blessing.”
Smith has five tackles, including 1.5 for loss, to go with one pass break-up and the aforementioned pick. He also recovered a muffed punt return in the fourth quarter of an Oct. 28 game at Northwestern.
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 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).
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