CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Graduate student Mike Hollins is the first weekly nominee for the 2023 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Hollins, a graduate student, has played in all three games for the Cavaliers this season after surviving the Nov. 13, 2022 shootings that took the lives of three of his UVA teammates.
“When times get hard, everyone thinks of them and finds a way to push through,” Hollins told the Washington Post this month. “That’s where you get your motivation, your drive from, and if you don’t, then your mind is in the wrong place because that’s the perfect source. There is no better source to drive you forward than three people you love so deeply who were taken.”
Virginia players Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry were shot and killed last fall after returning to the Grounds from a class field trip. Hollins was shot when he returned to the bus to try and help his teammates.
Hollins recovered from his wound and returned to the Hoos football program in the spring.
Virginia’s final two games of the 2022 season were canceled in the aftermath of the shooting. When the program took the field for this year’s season opener on Sept. 2 against Tennessee in Nashville, Hollins carried the team flag on to the field and entered the game on the Hoos’ third play from scrimmage.
One week later, in Virginia’s first game at Scott Stadium since the shootings, Hollins carried a “UVA Strong” flag on to the field. Hollins rushed for two touchdowns in the game against JMU. On the day before the game, Hollins and the Virginia program gathered on the Grounds for a ceremonial tree planting and plaque dedication near the site of the shooting to honor Chandler, Davis Jr. and Perry.
“He’s a walking miracle,” Virginia coach Tony Elliott said of Hollins after the JMU game.
The 5-9, 204-pound Hollins has carried the ball 18 times this season for 37 yards and two touchdowns, to go with two catches for eight yards. For his career, Hollins has 577 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, and 26 catches for 205 receiving yards.
A Baton Rouge, La., native, Hollins was an academic All-ACC honoree in 2022, and he is earning a graduate certificate in Education.
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 Oregon tight end Cam McCormick (2022), the University of Utah football Team (2021), Arkansas State analyst Alex Charlton (2020), Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson (2019), SUNY Cortland linebacker Kyle Richard (2018), Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon (2017), Pitt 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).008), 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).