U.S. Naval Academy's Singleton Never Loses Sight of New Frontier
Aspiring Astronaut Wins Prestigious 2007 Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award
Nov. 27, 2007
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Nov. 27) - U.S. Naval Academy slot back Zerbin Singleton has displayed an unwavering determination, overcoming a serious car wreck and a series of family tragedies to follow his dream of one day becoming a part of the U.S. space program. For his courage and perseverance, Singleton is this year's recipient of Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award, given each year to college football's most inspirational figure. Disney's Director of Sports & Recreation Planning and New Event Development Kellen Winslow, an NFL Hall of Famer, will present the award to Singleton during The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards at the Atlantic Dance Hall at Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday, Dec. 6. The 17th annual awards show is scheduled for 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN.
Singleton, a senior aerospace engineering major from Decatur, Ga., overcame several obstacles growing up, including leaving Alaska after his mother's incarceration following a parole violation. He met his father for the first time as a senior in high school, then was forced to cope with his father's suicide a year later.
At age 11, Singleton found stability in Decatur, Ga., where he lived with his cousins and quickly developed a natural aptitude for school and athletics. A three-year football letterman at Columbia High School (Decatur, Ga.), he was also elected Senior Class President, along with President of CHS's National Honor Society.
Initially accepted into the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy, Singleton chose the Navy because of the challenge of flying a jet to and from an aircraft carrier. However, Singleton's dreams of aviation were derailed after his car was struck by a drunk driver one week before graduating from high school as class valedictorian. As a result of a broken collarbone suffered in the accident, he couldn't participate in Navy's plebe summer and was subsequently denied admittance to the academy.
Undeterred by his physical limitations as a result of the car accident, Singleton never gave up and instead enrolled his freshman year at Georgia Tech University. Once healthy enough to complete the physical requirements set forth by the Naval Academy in 2004, he transferred to the academy in Annapolis, Md.
"Zerbin Singleton is the embodiment of character, purpose and determination," said Winslow. "We at Disney's Wide World of Sports are proud to present this honor to a member of our Armed Forces whose ambition and focus will ultimately lead him to inspiring new heights."
A three-year starter at slot back, Singleton enters the annual Army-Navy game on Dec. 1 playing perhaps the best football of his collegiate career. Primarily utilized as a blocking back the past two seasons, he has compiled back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances the past two games (at North Texas and vs. Northern Illinois), along with scoring three touchdowns in each of those contests. This season, he has rushed 59 times for 423 yards and eight touchdowns for the nation's leading rushing offense (357.4 ypg.).
"I am honored and humbled to be selected for this award," said Singleton. "All the credit goes to God and my family."
Singleton also excels in the classroom where he carries a 3.14 GPA in aerospace engineering. Last season, he was named Academic All-District by ESPN the Magazine.
This honor marks the second Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award for the U.S. Naval Academy. In 2001, the U.S. Service Academy football teams from Air Force, Army and Navy collectively received the Disney Spirit Award in recognition of their academic, athletic and military commitments following the tragic events of Sept. 11th.
Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award is presented annually to college football's most inspirational figure. Singleton becomes the 12th recipient of the Disney Spirit Award, joining past honorees Daniel Huffman (1996), Dwight Collins (1997), Matt Hartl (1998), East Carolina University (1999), Hameen Ali (2000), the United States Service Academy football teams (2001), Dewayne White (2002), Neil Parry (2003), Tim Frisby (2004), the Tulane University football team (2005) and University of Louisville band member Patrick Henry Hughes (2006).