CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Graduate student Mike Hollins was one of three winners of the 2023 Comeback Player of the Year Award announced by the College Sports Communicators, the Associated Press and the Fiesta Bowl Organization on Monday (Dec. 18). Hollins shares the honor with Michigan running back Blake Corum and College of Holy Cross Linebacker Jacob Dobbs.

Since 2018, the award has recognized college football student-athletes from all divisions of college football for overcoming injury, illness, or other circumstances. At the conclusion of each season, in a vote by a panel of college football writers, editors and sports information directors, three college football student-athletes are honored as Comeback Player of the Year Award winners at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.

A Baton Rouge, La., native, Hollins was the ACC’s recipient of the Brian Piccolo, annually given to the league’s most courageous football player and the winner of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. He is also a finalist the 2023 Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year. Hollins was an academic All-ACC honoree and an ACC Honor Roll member in 2022.

On November 13, 2022, on a chartered bus trip returning from Washington, D.C. Hollins and teammates Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. were among those shot. Hollins was the only one of the four Cavalier football players to survive.

Admitted to the hospital in critical condition, he was shot twice in the back in which the bullets narrowly missed his spine and created numerous injuries to his abdominal organs. He underwent two surgeries over the next few days to address those injuries and spent a week in the intensive care unit. His recovery required a period of eight weeks of inactivity to allow for healing. He returned to limited physical activity in mid-January, with the goals of increasing his fitness and regaining core stability.

Remarkably he rehabilitated his injuries in time to play in the 2023 Spring Game. During the game he scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown and paid tribute to his fallen teammates by placing the ball alongside the names of his three fallen teammates painted in the end zone.

This season the 5-9-inch 204-pound rushed for 274 yards and seven touchdowns on 80 carries and added 10 receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown.  For his career, he played in 42 games, rushing for 814 yards and 14 touchdowns on 203 carries and added 34 receptions for 231 yards and one score. For his career, Hollins had 814 rushing yards, 34 receptions, 241 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns.

Previous winners of the Comeback Player of the Year Award include: 2022 Mohamed Ibrahim (Minnesota); Laiatu Latu (UCLA); Michael Penix Jr. (Washington); 2021Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan); McKenzie Milton (Florida State); J.J. Weaver (Kentucky); 2020Jarek Broussard (Colorado); Kenneth Horsey (Kentucky); Silas Kelly (Coastal Carolina); 2019 Jake Luton (Oregon State); Drew Wilson (Georgia Southern); Octavion Wilson (Salisbury); 2018 – Antwan Dixon (Kent State), Seth Simmer (Dartmouth); Antonio Wimbush (Carson-Newman). For a complete list of past honorees, visit