Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kicker Combs wins Rudy Award

TCU placekicker Drew Combs yesterday received the 2008 College Football Rudy Award, honoring a student-athlete that demonstrates exemplary character, courage, contribution and commitment as members of their collegiate football team.

Combs was presented a trophy and $5,000 scholarship by Rudy Ruettiger, namesake of the award. The movie "Rudy" was based on Ruettiger, a former walk-on at Notre Dame.

Combs was born with a left arm that ends just below the elbow. He started every game the last two seasons for the Horned Frogs and recorded a career-best eight touchbacks in 2008. The senior from Houston also totaled three tackles in his career. He came to the Frogs after transferring from Arkansas.

"We established this award as a special way to honor and recognize college football players for the size of their hearts instead of the enormity of their stats," Ruettiger said. "Drew Combs is a special young man who personifies the spirit of this award and is an inspiration to his teammates, as well as the many Americans facing similar challenges."

Through the Horned Frogs' television exposure, Combs and the TCU athletics department regularly received e-mails and phone calls from parents of congenital amputees as well as fans who know kids born with the same condition. Combs personally responded to every message. He takes pride in being an inspiration to others in need and providing hope and motivation for anyone he encounters.

"When I ended everything at Arkansas, I felt in my heart that my purpose in college football was not over," Combs told the Star-Telegram. "I didn’t serve what I felt was going to be my duty, but I didn’t know what my duty was at that time. Through the exposure I’ve gained through TCU, to have children and families e-mail me and look at me as an inspiration is mind-blowing.

"My teammates have always been very accepting, and I don’t think there’s a single teammate, coach or anyone in the TCU community that’s uncomfortable with my situation. That’s been very helpful in being able to go forward with a normal life."

- Rick

Check the Star-Telegram for another good account of Combs receiving the award.

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