Washington, the rangy 6-foot-4 wide receiver from Shreveport, Louisiana, has been the emotional leader for the 10th-ranked Tigers this season after a tumultuous upbringing that included the murder of his father when he was five years old. A decade later his mother, Sonya, only 38, died after complications with a blood clot.
Washington, the second youngest of four brothers, was left to help raise the family with his two older brothers. The fourth brother is still in high school. They bonded and stayed together, despite attempts to split them up. And when it came time for L’Damian to accept a college scholarship, after initially planning on attending nearby Louisiana Tech, his brothers encouraged him to go to Missouri.
Washington has overcome all the obstacles and has a resume that ranks him among the top receivers in college football. Through eight games this season, he leads the Tigers with 635 yards receiving on 33 catches (a 19.2 yards-a-catch average) and has eight touchdown receptions.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN ‘s senior columnist 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 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).
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is a 351-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. The Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the Discover Orange Bowl on January 3, 2014. Other Orange Bowl core events include the MetroPCS Orange Bowl Basketball Classic, Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance presented by Sports Authority, Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships, Orange Bowl International Youth Regatta, Orange Bowl Swim Classic and Orange Bowl Paddle Championships. For more information on the 2013-14 Orange Bowl 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 1,200 men and women who cover college football. 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 and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-713-6198.