Freddie Solomon played his college football at the University of Tampa and went on to play for the Miami Dolphins for three seasons before joining the San Francisco 49ers where he helped win two Super Bowl championships. His career in the National Football League as a wide receiver came to a close after 11 years. Then the Sumter, SC, native known as “Fabulous Freddie”, came back to Hillsborough County to make a more lasting impact. Solomon devoted the next 12 years of his life to the youths of Tampa Bay, working with the Sheriff’s department to teach kids life lessons through football. His efforts impacted more than two decades of youths and his lessons are still carried on in the community. The Freddie Solomon Spirit Award continues Solomon’s efforts to help make the world a better place by annually honoring a collegiate football player from the states of Florida or South Carolina who has impacted the lives of others through giving and community service.
Awards Process: Each college football season colleges and universities can submit candidates for the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award via an e-mail to email@example.com. The e-mail should contain details of the candidates’ recent community involvement and why the candidate should received the award. All nominations are then given to The Solomon Family on November 15th to determine which player receives the award.
2012 Asa Watson
Tight End, North Carolina State Wolfpack
2013 Matt Floyd
Quarterback, South Florida Bulls
2014 Dylan Thompson
Quarterback, South Carolina Gamecocks
2015 Matt Dobson
Safety, Georgia Southern Eagles
2016 Travis Rudolph
Wide Receiver, Florida State Seminoles
Florida State would like to nominate junior wide receiver Travis Rudolph for the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award. A West Palm Beach native, Travis has been stalwart in the Tallahassee community throughout his three years here, regularly attending community outreach projects with his teammates and other Seminole athletes. In August of this year, one of Travis' visits became national news when he had lunch with Bo Paske, an autistic middle schooler that Travis saw eating lunch by himself one day.
Travis, who didn't know Bo or that he was autistic, sat with Bo to eat pizza during lunch. One of the workers at the school took a candid picture of the two, which made it's way to Bo's mother Leah's attention. She posted a heartwarming thank you on Facebook, a move that made Travis' unselfish act go viral. Travis and the FSU football team continued their relationship with the Paske's, with Bo and Leah frequently seen at FSU practices and games throughout the season. Prior to the season opener against Ole Miss, Travis surprised Bo with a personalized jersey and tickets to the game in Orlando.
Earlier this year, Travis and Bo's story was recognized by the Musial Award, given annually to the stories of sportsmanship and compassion throughout sports, joining the likes of Cal Ripken Jr. to earn this year's honor.
Written by Steven McCartney, FSU Sports Information