ATLANTA -- The award winner who received the longest, most heartfelt ovation from an audience of college football's elite coaches and players at the Home Depot College Football Awards sat in his wheelchair, wiping the tears behind his glasses, full of gratitude.
"It's hard to find words to explain what it means," said Tyler Trent, a former Purdue student and now-and-forever Boilermaker. Trent, who is suffering from terminal cancer, received the Disney Spirit Award at the College Football Hall of Fame.
Trent, accompanied by his family and his friend, Purdue quarterback David Blough, said, "I had two months to live three months ago. I'm super grateful that I am here today. I feel undeserving of the award."
The room begged to differ. Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm, who befriended Trent last year, before his health worsened, said the effect that Trent has had extended well beyond the audience here.
"He's touched all of America," Brohm said "He's been an inspiration to everyone. That's what makes it so special. Everyone across the country showing love to him has helped him gain strength. ... He's a strong man."
The most famous men in the game wanted to connect with Trent. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney stopped to say hello to Trent and make sure he received a ball that Swinney had sent him.
"Oh my god! I love Tyler," Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said. "Tyler came in right before me, and I'm trying to get up to him to say hello to him. It's the story of the year. It might be the story of the decade. He's really affected me."