Well, this is self-explanatory, isn't it? The toughest athlete, as deemed by me, gets this one. It's usually an athlete dealing with injuries.
And this year we have our first non-Red Sox, and even non-professional athlete to take this Award. And the winner is...
In 2008, in his junior year Herzlich was named an All-American, and was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year, as well as a Butkus Award finalist. Experts had him pegged as a mid-2nd-rounder in the NFL draft. He chose to stay at BC. He didn't choose what happened next.
He was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a kind of bone cancer. But even though he couldn't play, he remained a key part of the team, an indomitable presence on the sidelines.
The ACC and its member programs really won my respect this year with how they treated Herzlich. Schools and programs donated money to cancer research in his name, and often paid tribute to him in their own stadiums. It was a very classy season by BC's opponents.
And now he's cancer free, with his 4th year still ahead of him.