JJ Weaver Nominated For Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award – University Of Kentucky Athletics – UKAthletics

Sophomore outside linebacker J.J. Weaver has been named a nominee for the 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, it was announced today.


Weaver, a 6-foot-5, 231-pounder from Louisville, Kentucky, was having a breakout freshman campaign with 33.5 tackles and 6.5 tackles for a loss through nine games when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee at Florida last November. Despite missing the final two games, the redshirt freshman still earned All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team honors.


That injury capped off a very difficult year for Weaver, who also lost his father to homicide and recently his high school coach passed away due to cancer. As a result, his challenging off-season included both the rehabilitation of his knee and undergoing counseling to deal with his grief.  Both have been successful as he has returned to the field with a strong knee and a clear mind for the 2021 season.  Through five games this year, Weaver has recorded 14 tackles, including 5.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception.  This past weekend was especially emotional for Weaver as he took the field against SEC-rival Florida, the same team he injured his knee against just 10 months ago. His stellar defensive prowess helped the Wildcats upset the 10th-ranked Gators as he totaled four tackles and his first career interception, setting up a touchdown in UK’s 20-13 victory. 


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.


Weaver’s defensive teammate, Josh Paschal, was nominated for the award in 2019 after returning to the field upon beating cancer.


Weaver is the third weekly nominee, joining Florida State’s McKenzie Milton and Tulsa’s Yohance Burnett. He is also a nominee for the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award.


About Orange Bowl

Orange Bowl is a 380-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars through its Orange Bowl Cares program: Youth Sports, Education, Community Engagement and Legacy Programs. Orange Bowl features a year-round schedule of events culminating with the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl on Dec. 31, 2021. For more information on the 2021 Orange Bowl events, including promotional inquiries and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program presented by Panera Bread, log on to orangebowl.org or follow @OrangeBowl on social media.


About FWAA

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team.

Players Mentioned

#4 Josh Paschal DE 6′ 3″ 278 lbs Senior

#13 J.J. Weaver OLB 6′ 5″ 241 lbs Sophomore