South Alabama LB Byrson James earns nomination

South Alabama linebacker Bryson James is the third FWAA Courage Award nominee this season.

DALLAS (FWAA)– South Alabama’s Bryson James is the weekly nominee for the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award that will be announced at the end of the season. When James, a linebacker from New Orleans, was born, doctors believed he would be mentally disabled and would never learn to walk, let alone play college football. The 6-02, 235-pound senior, a backup at middle linebacker, has already earned his degree.

James was born four months premature; weighing less than a pound; he fit into his mother’s hand. “They said that…I wasn’t going to walk or talk,” James told The Press-Register of Mobile, Ala. “Now, I’m one of the smartest guys on the defense. I have a great family that has provided me with everything that I needed.” Doctors credited, among other things, his mother’s constant care for her infant son.

James’ mother Valorie has undergone two brain surgeries, most recently when he was a high school senior, to correct blood flow and to remove a tumor. But she has rarely missed any of her son’s games.

“If I can say one word about that guy, it’s ‘perseverance,’” South Alabama linebackers coach Travis Pearson told the newspaper. “… His story is unbelievable, from where he’s come from.”

For the eighth straight year, the Football Writers Association of America and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce weekly nominees during the season. A blue-ribbon panel of FWAA members will determine the winner from the nominees.

The Courage Award was created by ESPN’s senior columnist Gene Wojciechowski, also a FWAA member. 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 Courage Award are 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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