Here are highlights from the release from the Football Writers Association of America:
Washington linebacker Dan Howell is this week's nominee for the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award to be announced at the end of the 2006 season.
Howell, a junior from Newhall, Calif., has played this season burdened by the death of his father, whom he described as his role model. Howell's 33-yard interception return for a touchdown clinched Washington's 29-19 win over UCLA on Sept. 23. The performance came two weeks after the death of 57- year-old Keith Howell of complications from heart surgery.
"It's almost like one of those divine interventions that you seldom see," Washington coach Ty Willingham said.
Dan Howell spent a week at home after his father's death, then returned. He has started five of six games and he leads the Pac-10 with three forced fumbles to go with 16 tackles, including five for loss and a sack.
"I guess 20 years was all I needed with my father," Howell said at the time. "Twenty years was all I needed to learn. Twenty years is what I'll use to keep myself going forward and staying focused."
For the first time, the FWAA and the FedEx Orange Bowl will announce a weekly nominee each Wednesday during the season. A blue-ribbon panel will determine the winner from all of the nominees. The winner of the FedEx Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award will be announced in December and be presented with the trophy.
The Courage Award was created by ESPN The Magazine's senior writer 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 the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis' Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's William Bratton (2002).
2006 FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
&bull Sept. 20: Ray Ray McElrathbey, Clemson
&bull Sept. 27: Martel Van Zant, Oklahoma State
&bull Oct. 4: Terry Hoeppner, Indiana
&bull Oct. 11: Dan Howell, Washington