Friday, December 07, 2007
But the Waimea High School graduate finished as one of two runners-up for the Dick Butkus Award, which was presented to Ohio State’s James Laurinaitis last night in Orlando, Fla. Laurinaitis received the nation’s top linebacker award with 39 panel votes. Penn State’s Dan Connor was the other runner-up.
Dizon was hoping to become the third trophy winner to be from Hawai‘i. The other two were Honolulu’s Dominic Raiola who won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center and Chad Owens who won the final Mosi Tatupu award as the nation’s top special teams performer.
Dizon, however, was happy to attend the award ceremony. Sporting maile lei, Dizon was accompanied by his mother Darla Abbatiello and family members, Colorado linebacker coach Brian Cabral, who also hails from Hawai‘i, Waimea Athletic Director Jon Kobayashi, Pop Warner football coach Edmund Acoba and teammate R.J. Brown.
“A lot of people probably spent more time on planes than they actually did here (in Orlando),” Dizon said on the podium. “I have to thank them all for their tremendous support. I’ve got to give a shout out to my defensive line, who made things easy for me, and to my fellow linebackers and really all my teammates. And coach Cabral has been such a tremendous influence in my life, my father figure away from home the last four years.”
Cabral was emotional when he took the podium.
“Being from Hawai‘i, I can say that the entire state of Hawai’i is proud of him, and that the state of Colorado is proud as well,” Cabral said at the ceremony. “I can honestly say in my 19 years coaching linebackers at Colorado, I have never enjoyed coaching and watching someone play more than Jordon. Who would have thought this kid from a small town, if you can even call it a town, from a small island would do as well as Jordon has. When people ask me why I enjoy coaching, young men like Jordon are the reason.”
Dizon’s sister, Taryn, could not attend the ceremony in Florida, but kept a close eye for news alerts to see how her younger brother fared.
“Even though he didn’t win, it was a big accomplishment for him to get that far,” she said. “We’re all so proud of him and we thank everyone for supporting him.”
It was also announced yesterday that Dizon was named to The Sporting News All-America team.
Dizon had the best statistics by far of the three finalists, but Ohio State is playing for a national championship and Penn State finished 8-4 compared to Colorado’s 6-6 mark, which likely played some kind of factor in the final balloting.
“These guys are great,” Dizon said of his co-finalists. “I have plenty of memories from this experience and it was an honor to be one of three linebackers to get to this point. That’s a tremendous honor in itself.”
Dizon will take the field again on Sunday, Dec. 30 when Colorado plays Alabama in the Independence Bowl.