NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Cody Markel, a recent graduate and four-year member of the Commodore football team, has been recognized as Vanderbilt Athletics’ male nominee for the Southeastern Conference Brad Davis Award.
Markel, from Madison, Wisconsin, earned national attention last year for creating Turner’s Heroes, a non-profit organization dedicated to the memory of Vanderbilt classmate and fellow tight end Turner Cockrell. Turner, then a Vanderbilt junior, passed away in December 2018 after a lengthy fight against melanoma. Turner’s Heroes mission is to fund discovery grants for pediatric cancer research, uplift the spirits of pediatric cancer patients and aid families of young cancer patients.
Markel would be the first Vanderbilt male student-athlete to earn the Brad Davis Award since the league office initiated the honor. Each spring, the award is presented to the SEC’s community service student-athlete of the year.
The Brad Davis Award nomination is the latest accolade for Markel. In April, Markel received the Jim Robins Award and Community Service Award at Vanderbilt Athletics’ annual student-athlete recognition banquet. In February, he was presented the C.R. Bickerstaff/Bill Pace University Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award from the National Football Foundation’s Middle Tennessee chapter.
As Vanderbilt’s male nominee for the Davis Award, Markel will receive a $5,000 post-graduate scholarship from the SEC.
In the past year, Markel has also been nominated for the NFF’s prestigious Campbell Award, the Senior CLASS Award and the Allstate-American Football Coaches Association FBS Good Works Team.
Turner’s Heroes has raised more than $110,000. More than half of that — $70,000 — was raised during an 82-hour fundraising drive last September centered around Vanderbilt’s home football game against LSU.
The money fully funded Turner’s Heroes’ first discovery grant for pediatric cancer research at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University. Markel and Turner’s Heroes also have staged superhero-themed activities for young patients at Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital and American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. The non-profit held similar events at Cockrell’s prep alma mater, Allatoona High School near Atlanta.
Markel is establishing the Turners Heroes Kids Cancer Endowment Fund at American Family Children’s Hospital to support pediatric cancer research and benefits families with young cancer patients at the Wisconsin facility.
Prior to forming Turner’s Heroes, Markel served as captain of the football team’s 2018 Dance Marathon effort that raised more than $10,000 for the children’s hospital on campus. Additionally, Markel contributed as a volunteered for several months at Alive Hospice in Nashville.
Markel, a six-time dean’s list recipient, earned a double major last December in political science and medicine, health and society. His long-term plans include law school.
Limited by injuries in 2019, the three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree appeared in 23 career games as a blocking specialist at the tight end position. He had a touchdown reception against Tennessee in the 2018 regular season finale.