Auburn's Zac Etheridge named Courage Award nominee

AUBURN – The Football Writers Association of American announced Auburn safety Zac Etheridge and Ole Miss running back Rodney Scott as the first weekly nominees for the 2010 Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award on Wednesday.

Etheridge, a senior from Troy, Ala., has returned to football after he
was temporarily paralyzed while making a tackle in 2009. Scott, a
sophomore from Cross City, Fla., is being recognized for his action –
or inaction – in helping prevent further injury to Etheridge.

During the teams' game last October, Etheridge tackled Scott. When both
players remained motionless, it became apparent something was wrong.
Etheridge had suffered a neck injury. Scott, sensing Etheridge was
seriously injured, did not move.

"If I had moved, he could have been paralyzed," Scott told reporters.

"It was one of the most amazing things I've seen," Auburn head coach
Gene Chizik said. "I've got to give (Scott) a lot of credit. I don't
know how he knew, but he just knew he couldn't move. He sat as still as
the night, laying right underneath (Etheridge). It was one of the most
phenomenal things I've witnessed."

Etheridge's spine wasn't structurally damaged. He suffered torn
ligaments and a cracked fifth vertebra and had to wear an invasive neck
brace for three months.

Etheridge earned his degree in public administration last December. He
did not participate in spring practice, but was cleared to play just
before the season. He is tied for second on the team with 24 tackles.
Scott has played in a reserve role for the Rebels. The players have
spoken on the phone several times since the accident.

"I take my hat off to Rodney Scott," Etheridge said a few days after
the accident. "If he would have moved, I wouldn't be here today."

For the fifth straight year, the Football Writers Association of
America and the Discover Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee for
the Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award each Wednesday during the
season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the award's recipient from
those weekly nominees. The recipient of the Courage Award will be
announced in December and presented with the trophy in conjunction with
this year's Discover Orange Bowl.

The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Gene
Wojciechowski, also an FWAA member. A select group of FWAA members vote
on the recipient 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 the Connecticut
Huskies (2009), Tulsa's Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton
(2007), Clemson's Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane Green Wave
(2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry
(2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).

INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn University Athletics