Olson, who has been without sight in either eye since age 12, became the second legally blind player to appear in an NCAA football game last year.
“Jake’s story is an inspiration to all, and our Foundation is honored to recognize him with the award of perseverance,” Walter Camp Foundation president Michael Madera said in a statement. “Jake has demonstrated courage and a strong will to succeed despite the challenges he has had to overcome.”
Olson grew up a Trojans fan and became a constant guest of the team at games when the club was led by coach Pete Carroll. Olson was born with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the retina, and lost vision in his left eye when he was 10 months old and in his right eye at 12 years old.
Carroll heard of Olson’s story and invited him to practice. Olson was on the sideline during a game the day before losing sight in his right eye. Young Olson accompanied the team to several games, home and away.
Now 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Olson was granted a waiver to practice with USC in the fall of 2015 and snapped for two kicks in the 2016 spring game.
Last season, Olson became involved in a game when he served as the long snapper at the end of USC’s 49-31 victory over Western Michigan.
Olson is listed as the Trojans’ third-team long-snapper on the team’s most recent depth chart. He hasn’t taken the field in a game this season, however.