The Independence Bowl Foundation is proud to announce Dallas Cowboys cornerback and former LSU standout Morris Claiborne as the 2013 Carl Mikovich â€œSportsperson of the Year.â€
Before he was a star for the Cowboys or LSU, Claiborne made a name for himself as a multi-sport athlete at Fair Park High School in Shreveport.
At Fair Park, Claiborne put in time all over the field for the Indians, excelling at quarterback, defensive back and wide receiver. He was a three-time all-district selection at defensive back and receiver, and accounted for more than 2,000 yards of total offense and 30 touchdowns as a senior quarterback.
Claiborne also starred on the basketball, baseball and track and field teams. The Shreveport Times named him the 2009 Shreveport-Bossier Male Athlete of the Year.
Claiborne took his talents to Baton Rouge, quickly becoming a star for the Tigers. In his freshman season, he was moved from receiver to cornerback and backed up another star NFL player, Patrick Peterson.
As a sophomore starter, Claiborne led LSU in passes defended (11) and interceptions (5) on the way to being named second-team All-SEC.
He followed up his breakout sophomore season with a consensus first-team All-America year in 2011. He registered six pass break ups and six interceptions on the way to being named the Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nationâ€™s top defensive back. He led the nation in interception return yardage, and also returned kicks for the Tigers, averaging 25.1 yards per return, which included a 99-yard touchdown.
Claiborne entered the NFL Draft early, selected sixth overall by the Cowboys, who traded up eight spots to be sure they landed the star corner.
As a rookie, he racked up 55 total tackles and defended eight passes, including one interception. He also forced a fumble and recovered two.
In his second season, he has missed some time due to injury, but has accounted for 24 tackles and six passes defended, including an interception.
Through the newly created Morris Claiborne Foundation, Claiborne has hosted a free youth football clinic the past two summers for kids in the Shreveport-Bossier City area at Independence Stadium. He hosted a free youth clinic in Dallas this summer as well.
Claiborne joins an impressive list of local sports heroes who have won the award, including pro golfers Hal Sutton (1983) and David Toms (1997), sportscaster Tim Brando (1992), NFL wide receiver Arnaz Battle (2002), MLB pitcher Scott Baker (2007) and Olympic weightlifter Kendrick Farris (2012).
Claiborne will be honored during bowl week festivities of the 2013 AdvoCare V100 Bowl.