Florida's Cristian Garcia Nominated for Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award
Florida’s Cristian Garcia is this week’s nominee for the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Garcia, a redshirt senior linebacker, was credited by the Gainesville Police Department in the summer of 2016 for preventing a sexual assault while he was working at a local restaurant. He was featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and met then-Vice President Joe Biden, who honored Garcia with one of the administration’s inaugural “It’s On Us” courage awards.
“I guess it was something instinctual,” Garcia told Yahoo Sports this summer. “Something in my moral compass. It was humiliating for the girl and I stopped it.”
Garcia had been taking out the trash when he saw a man on top of an unresponsive 19-year-old woman behind a dumpster. He grabbed the man and told him to get off her. The man tried to incite a fight with Garcia before fleeing with friends.
Garcia, a Miami native, had played college football at Malone (Ohio) University and Florida Tech before transferring to Santa Fe College in Gainesville in 2014, when he worked with the Gators’ football video staff. He walked on to Florida’s football team the following year, and he earned a scholarship this past summer, ahead of his final season of eligibility.
Garcia has played in 17 career games for Florida, starting in the Gators’ Outback Bowl win against Iowa last season and recording five tackles. He recorded four tackles, including a tackle for loss, in Florida’s 28-27 win this past Saturday against Kentucky.
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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