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2008 Award Recipient

Drew Combs
Texas Christian University

A congenital amputee, Texas Christian University senior kickoff specialist Drew Combs was born with a left arm that ends at his elbow. Drew recently graduated from Texas Christian University where he was a senior kickoff specialist and started every game in the 2007 and 2008 season. While playing for the Horned Frogs as a walk-on, Drew had a career high of eight touchbacks in 2008 and three career tackles. After every televised game, the TCU Athletic Department was inundated with e-mails from athletes and parents of athletes that face physical challenges. Drew was an inspiration to all of them, and personally responded to every message.

Drew wants to help others in need and uses his athletic ability to provide hope and motivation for everyone he encounters. He works with athletes with disabilities, answering questions and serving as an esteemed role model. He graduated with a degree in Marketing/Communications and is currently working in Commercial Real Estate in Houston, Texas.

2008 Finalists

Dan Cafaro - University of Pittsburgh
Dan Cafaro was a University of Pittsburgh redshirt junior defensive when he was named a finalist for the College Football Rudy Award in 2008. That same year he earned his first letter and played in 11 games during which he had two tackles including stops against Notre Dame and West Virginia. Cafaro is a tenacious competitor with a nose for action. A special team’s demon who plays with a blue-collar toughness, Cafaro earned the admiration of his teammates by making the team as a walk-on just one year after undergoing treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma.

He had spent six months undergoing chemotherapy, lost 30 pounds off his already undersized 5’9”, 157 pound frame and lost all his hair. Determined to make it back to the gridiron, Cafaro walked on to the Panthers in the fall of 2007, following his transfer from Virginia Tech. He spent the season on the scout team and was named recipient of the Panther’s Demale Stanley Award, which goes to the team's most inspirational player.

Nic Harris - University of Oklahoma
Former University of Oklahoma senior safety and linebacker, Nic Harris epitomizes the concept of perseverance. Many people faced with the challenges that Harris was presented with at an early age would underachieve. Instead, he has turned the challenges into victories. Harris was born to teenage parents who abandoned him shortly after his birth. He moved from home to home as a child, wondering where he would sleep at night or who would take him to school, or feed him. He persevered, finding solace in athletics.

At Oklahoma, Harris became an inspirational leader and team captain. He is a two-time All-Big 12 honoree and was a finalist for the 2007 Wooden Citizenship Cup. While at the University of Oklahoma, Harris served for two years as the President of Bridge Builders, an African American student community service organization on campus. He spent many hours volunteering with children and giving them a role model who is a product of his background but not a captive to it. More recently, Harris was drafted in the fifth round by the Buffalo Bills in the 2009 draft. The Rudy Awards say: Go Nic!

Click Here for Photos from the 2008 Awards Ceremony

All 2008 Nominees

Joel Adams University of Colorado Dan Hawkins
Steve Aponavicius Boston College Jeff Jagodzinski
Rob Bruggeman University of Iowa Kirk Ferentz
Jeff Byers University of Southern California Pete Carroll
Deon Butler Penn State University Joe Paterno
Dan Cafaro University of Pittsburgh Dave Wannstedt
Ian Campbell Kansas State University Ron Prince
Sebastian Clements Oklahoma State University Mike Gundy
Drew Combs Texas Christian University Gary Patterson
Jason Cook University of Mississippi Houston Nutt
Ryan Craig Rice University David Bailiff
Travis Dekker United States Air Force Academy Troy Calhoun
Alex Derenthal Temple University Al Golden
Ryan Donnelly Syracuse University Greg Robinson
Casey Droscha Central Michigan University Butch Jones
Frank Duong Purdue University Joe Tiller
Brian Elledge San Jose State University Dick Tomey
Chris Franklin Western Kentucky University David Elson
Danny Garcia University of Texas/El Paso Mike Price
Troy Garside Georgia Tech Paul Johnson
Louis Givens Florida State University Bobby Bowden
Daniel Graff Louisiana State University Les Miles
William Tyler Grisham Clemson University Dabo Swinney
Michael Hancock Florida Atlantic University Howard Schnellenberger
Nic Harris University of Oklahoma Bob Stoops
Marcus Henderson Oregon State University Mike Riley
Tim Hiller Western Michigan University Bill Cubit
Wilson Holloway University of Tulsa Todd Graham
Tyler Huffman Ohio University Frank Solich
Trevor Jenkins Middle Tennessee State University Rick Stockstill
Jammie Kirlew Indiana University Bill Lynch
Matt Larkin University of Oregon Mike Bellotti
Robbie McAtee University of Kentucky Rich Brooks
Stephen McGee Texas A&M University Mike Sherman
Andy McIntosh University of Nevada Chris Ault
Zach Milligan University of Missouri Gary Pinkel
Johnell Neal University of Central Florida George O’Leary
Chris Ogbonnaya University of Texas Mack Brown
Ryan Perry University of Hawaii Greg McMackin
Todd Peterson University of Nebraska Bo Pelini
Tommy Poynter Southern Methodist University June Jones
Robert Quinn University of North Carolina Butch Davis
Sam Shalala Baylor University Art Briles
George Smith Vanderbilt University Bobby Johnson
James Smith University of Florida Urban Meyer
Chris Stevens University of Washington Tyrone Willingham
Brett Toney University of Memphis Tommy West
Josh Ulibarri San Diego State University Chuck Long
Kurtis von Bargen East Carolina University Skip Holtz
Ty Whittier Colorado State University Steve Fairchild
Nate Wilcox-Fogel Stanford University Jim Harbaugh
Otis Wiley Michigan State University Mark Dantonio
Andrew Williams University of Georgia Mark Richt