The Press Newspaper
Jordan Kovacs nominated for College Rudy Awards
The University of Michigan’s 5-10, 194 pound freshman safety Jordan Kovacs
(Clay) has been nominated for the 2009 College Rudy Awards.
The awards honor Division I college football players “who best embody the principles of inspirational football legend Daniel 'Rudy' Ruettiger. Rather than measure the players stats, the Rudy Awards measures the size of a player's heart.”
The finalist will be named The Most Inspirational College Football Player, and the 2009 Recipient of the College Football Rudy Awards. They will receive an academic college scholarship in his name to his university and The Rudy Award Trophy personally presented by Rudy Ruettiger at a ceremony to be held on January 11, 2010 in Orlando, Fla.
The Rudy Awards website describes Kovacs inspiration story as follows, “It has been said that during fall camp, as a little known walk-on, the coaches could never get his name right. He went from being an unknown, to earning the right to start at Michigan. Not only did he start, he led the team in tackles on two occasions and concluded the season ranked second on the team.
“Jordan is a modest, soft-spoken, hard-working individual who was accepted at the University of Michigan based on his academic merits alone. To overcome setbacks, injuries and multiple knee surgeries, and rehabilitate to the point he was able to try out for a walk-on position at Michigan, speaks to his dedication, desire, spirit, work ethic and motivation.
“Jordan is a true example that if you want something badly enough, hard work and persistence will pay off, regardless of what others may say you can or cannot do.”
A native of Curtice, Kovacs' goal was to walk-on the football team at the University of Michigan where his father had played as a walk-on. He participated in a fall 2008 tryout as a freshman and made the cut.
During his physical with the medical staff, however, at which time he revealed he'd had knee surgery in high school, the doctors found torn meniscus. His dream seemed to be derailed, but he decided to go through another surgery and rehabilitation on the affected knee.
Kovacs came back for the spring 2009 tryout and this time, he made the team. He went through spring drills with the Wolverines and continued to improve with every practice.
Heading into fall camp, Kovacs wanted to make a special teams unit. He achieved his mission in the 2009 season-opener, suiting up on the kickoff and kick return teams. Kovacs saw his first career action at safety during almost the entire second half against Notre Dame (Sept. 12).
Kovacs earned his first career start in 2009 against Indiana (Sept. 26). He continued to push for a starting role and gained it for good in the primetime game at 11th-ranked Iowa and he never looked back. Kovacs started the final eight games of the season at safety for the Wolverines and finished second on the team with 75 tackles and ranked 26th in the Big Ten Conference with 6.2 tackles per game average.
Kovacs had a career-high 17 tackles – also a team season-high - and forced his first collegiate fumble at Michigan State (Oct. 3). The 17 tackles also tied for the most of any player in the Big Ten during the 2009 season.
Kovacs led the team in tackles in consecutive games with 17 at MSU, and 11 at 12th-ranked Iowa (Oct. 10). His 2.5 TFLs at MSU was also a team-high. He had 10 tackles and his first collegiate interception at Wisconsin (Nov. 14). He concluded season with 4½ tackles for loss of 10 yards, one interception and tied for a team-high with two forced fumbles. He also played on kickoff, kick return, punt and punt return units throughout the season.
When asked during a press conference if his coaches and teammates know his name now, Kovacs modestly smiled and said he thought so.
Ruettiger founded The College Football Rudy Awards to honor Division I football players who brought that ‘something extra’ to the team.
Ruettiger wanted to find the most inspirational and motivational players in America who best defined what he refers to as "The Four C's: Courage, Contribution, Commitment and Character.”
The awards were launched in 2007. During the first year, 26 coaches nominated the ‘Rudy’ on their team. The inaugural award was presented to Terry Clayton of the University of Kentucky. A senior linebacker, Clayton lost his hearing at the age of five. He persevered as a walk on for the Kentucky football team and twice was named to the Southeast Conference Academic Honor Roll.
In 2008 the number of nominees more than doubled to 53, resulting in outstanding nominations including finalists Drew Combs, Dan Cafaro, and Nik Harris, who was recently drafted by the Buffalo Bills.
Nominees will be chosen by a national selection committee which includes June Junes and Chuck Knox. The selection process also incorporates a fan vote for supporters of the College Football Rudy Award. Visit http://www.collegerudyawards.com/nominees/76/Jordan_Kovacs.aspx to vote for Kovacs. (from a Rudy’s Awards press release).
The 31-game, wood bat, summer collegiate NABF CWS will be held Aug. 5-8, 2010 at Ned Skeldon Stadium and three other Toledo-area sites. LineDrive Sportz, based at the Lucas County Recreation Center, will be title sponsor and the national tournament will be internet broadcast by WRSCradio.com.
For information, call City of Toledo parks and recreation director Sherrie Shipman at 419-936-2700 or co-tournament directors Shawn Sobel at 419-936-3887 or Aaron Myers at 419-936-2877.
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