JuVaughn Harrison Earns Corbett Award as Top Male Athlete in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS (July 21, 2021) – 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.

The Corbett Awards (male and female) have been selected since 1967 by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The all-time list of winners includes 19 NFL players, nine Major League Baseball players, four NBA players (including two Hall of Famers), eight Olympians (including seven Gold Medal winners), three WNBA players and one PGA Tour star. Harrison will become the 10th Olympian when he competes in Tokyo later this month – Aleia Hobbs, the 2018 Corbett Award winner, will be the ninth Corbett Award Olympian as she has been selected for Team USA to compete in the 4×100 relay.

The Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl, selects annual award winners in a variety of categories; it also selects Amateur Athletes of the Month and each year’s Hall of Fame class. Overall, 23 individuals and two teams will be honored for their 2020-21 achievements at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Awards Banquet on July 24.

Jimmy Collins Special Awards: Dr. Greg Stewart, Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Gerald Lewis, St. Augustine Basketball
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Coach of the Year, New Orleans: Julie Ibieta, Metairie Park Country Day Volleyball
Outstanding Female Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Kristen Nuss, LSU Beach Volleyball
Outstanding Male Amateur Athlete, New Orleans: Jared Butler, Baylor Basketball
Eddie Robinson Award: Sidney Parfait, American Legion Baseball
Outstanding Boys’ Prep Team, New Orleans: McMain High School Basketball
Outstanding Girls’ Prep Team, New Orleans: Dominican Volleyball
Outstanding Collegiate Coach, Louisiana: Dennis Shaver, LSU Track & Field
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: Les Bonano, Boxing
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: Bernard Griffith, Basketball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: Joanne Skertich, Volleyball
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: Reggie Wayne, Football
Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Inductee: Frank Wills, Baseball
Corbett Award – Female: Kristen Nuss, LSU Beach Volleyball
Corbett Award – Male: JuVaughn Harrison, LSU Track & Field

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 LSU’s JuVaughn 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

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month – the honors enter their 65th year in 2021. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 99 Hall of Fame players, 51 Hall of Fame coaches and 19 Heisman Trophy winners in its 87-year history. The 88th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, which will feature top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, is scheduled to be played on January 1, 2022. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards, scholarships and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors thousands of student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.7 billion into the local economy in the last decade.