Duke senior offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson was awarded the Courage Award by the Orange Bowl-Football Writers Association of America, the organizations announced Friday. Tomlinson becomes the third Atlantic Coast Conference student-athlete to win the award, joining Clemson’s Daniel Rodriguez and Ray Ray McElrathbey.
Tomlinson grew up in Jamaica and came to this country when he was 10. He gained about 80 pounds and grew seven inches within his first year in the United States and could have passed for a person much older. Eventually, Tomlinson’s intelligence helped him to be placed in a mentoring program and, despite early concerns of his mother, he lived with the family of Bob Sperling, a Chicago-based attorney.
The now 6-foot-3, 330-pound Tomlinson was first introduced to football because his sister believed his size offered him the opportunity. At the time Tomlinson thought they were referring to soccer. His abilities grew on the football field, and he eventually was recruited by Big Ten programs.
Duke and coach David Cutcliffe caught his eye. Tomlinson wanted to be a doctor and someday might fulfill that goal.
Junior linebacker Austin Jacques was selected to the Beyond Sports Network Division II All-Super Region Third Team. Senior defensive lineman Chris Randolph earned honorable mention.
Saint Augustine’s posted the top times in five of 16 men’s and women’s relays combined, which was the most of any Division II school. The Falcons ran the best times in the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 men’s relays, and the Lady Falcons ran the fastest times in the 4x100 and 4x200 women’s relays.
Elon’s infielder Casey Jones was a first-team selection.
Fans who wear a holiday sweater to the game will receive free admission. (Unfortunately, vests will not be acceptable.) Upon arrival to campus, fans should head to the North Ticket Booth outside of Wallace Wade Stadium and Cameron Indoor Stadium to show off their sweaters and receive a free ticket.
After the game, fans should report to the court through the tunnels on either side of Section 18 to be wrist-banded for the official count and group photo to be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records.
For more information, call (919) 668-4873.