LSU Track & Field, 2020-21 Corbett Award
One of the top jumpers in the world, JuVaughn Harrison from the LSU track & field team has been selected as the winner of the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s James J. Corbett Award as the top male amateur athlete in the state of Louisiana.
James J. Corbett Awards
A nickname like “Mr. Jumps” for a collegiate athlete may come off as a bit presumptuous considering the number of extraordinary track and field jumpers in history. However, for Harrison, the nickname is fully and completely justified, especially after a sensational performance at the United States Track & Field Olympic Trials in late June.
Harrison, a native of Huntsville, Ala., won both the high jump and the long jump at the Trials to become the first American to qualify for the Olympics in those two events since Jim Thorpe in 1912. He is considered a potential medalist in both events in Tokyo – he’s ranked No. 2 in the world in both events. Track and field events at the Olympics begin on July 30.
“I’m going there with the goal of winning both events,” Harrison said. “I don’t like to lose.”
To be sure, the Olympic Trials solidified the “Mr. Jumps” nickname for Harrison, but it was far from undeserved prior to that performance – even before his Olympic Trial victories, he was recognized as the best to ever do the long jump/triple jump combo in WORLD history. At the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships, he became the first individual in NCAA history to win both the long jump and high jump championships. He matched that accomplishment at this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships and then did it again in mid-June at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
“It’s set in a little bit,” Harrison said to The Advocate prior to the Olympic Trials. “After the indoor meet, I heard the marks were the best for a long jump-high jump double to ever do that. That’s when it really started to come in like, ‘OK, you’re setting yourself up to do something that hasn’t been done before.’ ”
The 6-4, 180-pound Harrison hasn’t lost a high jump competition since March 30, 2019 – that includes 15 straight competitions in the high jump that he hasn’t been beaten. He’s the first male high jumper since 1960 to win the NCAA outdoor title and the U.S. Olympic Trials title in the same year.
In the long jump, Harrison’s Olympic Trials’ winning leap of 27-9.50 matched the LSU school-record that was set by 2004 Olympic silver medalist John Moffitt.
This year’s National Men’s Field Athlete of the Year by the USTFCCCA, Harrison’s six NCAA titles rank No. 3 on the LSU all-time list. His success at this year’s outdoor championships was a key to LSU winning the NCAA Team Championship as LSU dominated the field with 84 points – Oregon was second with 53 points. The biomedical engineering major is considered a top contender for the Bowerman Award – the honor presented to the top track and field athlete in the nation in December.
“JuVaughn has done it all for us,” said LSU coach Dennis Shaver. “It’s been a pleasure to watch him accomplish everything he has this year. He’s a true competitor and that shows every day. He hates to lose. He’s matured a lot since he’s arrived on our campus. He’s committed to the process and he’s a freakishly talented athlete. The things he’s accomplished this year are second to none. We’re proud of him and can’t wait to see what he accomplishes next.”
The other finalists for male Corbett Award were Cole Kelley (Southeastern Louisiana Football), Jordan Lewis (Southern Football) and Rayshawn Mart (Xavier Basketball). Kelley won the Walter Payton Award as the top offensive player in the FCS after leading the division in passing yards, completions, total offensive yards and total touchdowns. Lewis, the HBCU Defensive Player of the Year, won the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defensive player in the FCS after ranking No. 1 in the division in tackles for loss and sacks. Mart, a first-team All-American by the NAIA and the NABC, was Xavier’s first Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year after averaging 21.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game as he led XULA to a repeat championship in the GCAC Tournament.
Corbett Award Candidates, 2020-21