Former Stratford star Michael Lemon is up for a national college award. Here is Michael A. Lough's story:
The early parts of Michael Lemon’s college football career were, at a minimum, difficult. But the end has turned out pretty good.
And it could get better for the former Stratford standout, who has been nominated for college football’s Rudy Award, which rewards character, courage, contribution and commitment.
The award has been given out since 2007. This year, 55 players have been nominated for the award, named after former Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger.
Among the other nominees are Gary Beemer of Florida, Dylan Breeding of Arkansas, Garrett Chisolm of South Carolina, Mark Herzlich of Boston College, Will Lowery of Alabama, Ashton Richardson of Auburn and Michael Wade of Clemson.
Lemon is a fifth-year senior at N.C. State who shared starting duties this season for the 8-4 Wolfpack.
He started off at Georgia for the 2006 season and redshirted. In February of 2007, Lemon’s mother Phaba was killed in her home, which was then set on fire. Herbert Hart Jr. was arrested and is serving a life sentence for the crime.
Lemon played sparingly as a redshirt freshman in 2007. Early in the summer of 2008, Lemon was arrested in Athens on charges of aggravated battery and battery, and he was suspended and soon dismissed from Georgia. He spent the 2008 season at Georgia Military College. N.C. State then signed him late in the summer of 2009, and he has been a regular the past two seasons.
Lemon, the older brother of multi-sport Stratford senior Marquez, will graduate this spring with a degree in African-American Studies.
“It’s hard to put yourself in his place — you lose your parents and your mother in such a tragic way at an early age.” N.C. State head coach Tom O’Brien said in a recent Burlington (N.C.) Times-News story. “He is a good example of a second chance succeeding.”
Voting ends Dec. 13 and results will be announced a day later.
To read more on the nominees and to vote, go to http://www.rudyawards.com/cfra-2010-nominees.htm