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Former Grace Christian stand-out Will McKamey passed away back in March after collapsing at Navy football practice.

Knoxville has not forgotten Will, and his memory is living on through the Will McKamey Spirit Award.

Anderson County quarterback Tyler Hicks is the first recipient of the award presented by the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame.

PREVIOUS: First Will McKamey Spirit Award winner announced

"Everybody knew who Will was. He was good. He was really good at football. When you played Grace, you knew you were playing Will," said Hicks.

Hicks suffered a brain injury in a car accident in March 2012.

"When the accident happened everything was so traumatic, the last thing on any of our minds was him ever playing football again. We were just hoping he was going to live," said Davey Gillum, Anderson County head coach.

Tyler kept fighting. He had to learn to walk again, and the head injury affected his memory.

"I would be looking at the field and I wouldn't be able to tell you it's grass on the field," recalled Hicks. "I had no clue. I didn't know anything hardly. That was the hardest part, just getting my mind back into the things."

Tyler spent his junior year working to get back to the sport he loves.

"I think me and Coach Chadwell and Coach Cherry, most of us guys knew that if it was at all possible, he would be back out there at some point," said Coach Gillum.

That point was the 2013 opener against Clinton.

"It was crazy," said Hicks. "My emotions were wild, they were all over the place. I was just ready to get back in to it and start hitting some people."

In his senior season, Tyler accounted for more than 3,500 total yards with more than 1,000 rushing yards. He helped A.C. reach the quarterfinals of the playoffs.

Before he heads off to play baseball at Vol State, Tyler was honored Thursday night in memory of another great warrior in this community.

"He was a guy I looked up to," said Hicks of McKamey. "He did things right on and off the field. It's just a great honor to know that I'm receiving an award that's honoring his name."

RELATED: Will McKamey, 19, passes away from brain injury

"It's fitting that they have an award for Will," said Coach Gillum. "But it's equally as fitting that with Tyler and his story he'd be the first recipient of it."

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