9/13/2017 9:41:00 PM Former Tiger is first Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominee
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana's J-Shun Harris II is the first weekly nominee for the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.
Harris, a redshirt junior receiver and return specialist and former Fishers Tiger, earned Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors in his second game back after returning from anterior cruciate ligament tears in both his right (2015) and left (2016) knees. Both injuries had occurred during the summer.
"The toughest day was definitely right after surgery, both times," Harris told IUHoosiers.com. "It's nothing you can get used to. Pain is pain. You can only try to build a tolerance.
"But I was thankful for my family, my teammates, the coaches, and the strength and medical staffs. They all helped me keep my mind right, keep my hopes up. And then the best day was getting back out here and it was, 'Wow, no blue jersey, out here competing full-go with my guys.'"
Harris has wasted little time in returning to his old self, as the Fishers native amassed 109 punt return yards in the Hoosiers' 34-17 win Saturday at Virginia - the most for any Indiana player in a single game since 1991. He had returns of both 43 and 44 yards, with the 44-yarder going for a touchdown.
Through two games, Harris leads the Big Ten and is fourth nationally with 109 yards on five returns and is sixth nationally with a 21.8 average.
Before losing his last two seasons to injury, Harris was Indiana's offensive newcomer of the year in his freshman campaign of 2014, when he caught 18 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to his return duties.
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.