File this under "feel-good story" and "extremely well-deserved."
Michigan State's Arthur Ray Jr. has been named the winner of the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl/FWAA Courage Award. Ray, a senior offensive lineman from Chicago, returned to football this season, four years after bone cancer derailed his career.
The award will be presented Jan. 3, 2012, at the AVMed Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon in Miami. Ray will be honored again Jan. 4 on the field during the Discover Orange Bowl.
"This is a tremendous award for a young man who has conquered all of the odds up against him," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "He's played in games this year and has participated on the practice field daily. It's been a long road. He was on crutches for almost two years, from 2007 to 2009. He's really a living example to our football team on what you can do with a positive attitude and if you just continue to work, how you can conquer all obstacles."
I wrote about Ray's comeback from cancer in the spring of 2010. At that point, his status to see the field for the Spartans remained in doubt. He was cleared to practice in August and started the season opener against Youngstown State as senior Joel Foreman admirably gave up his spot for Ray.
Amazing story. Amazing kid. It's great to see Ray's story being recognized nationally.