Georgia Southern defensive lineman Brent Russell is among 117 nominees for the 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which was announced Wednesday by Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association.
As one of college football’s most prestigious off-the-field honors, the award recognizes a select group of college football players committed to making a difference in their communities.
Since 1992, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team has shown a spotlight on the countless “good works” and remarkable stories of service by student-athletes at all levels of college football competition. Award recipients represent the sport’s finest in terms of character and leadership in the community.
Russell, a rising senior, took a group of GSU linemen to the Joseph Home for Boys once a week for several weeks to mentor youths and provide a positive influence.
A consensus All-American the past two seasons and the Southern Conference's Defensive Player of the Year last season, Russell last week was named First Team Preseason FCS All-America by The Sports Network.
“This year’s Allstate AFCA Good Works Team nominees have some of the most impressive community service resumes in the program’s 21-year history,” said Kathy Mabe, president of Allstate’s West regions and a member of the 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel. “These young men continue to raise the bar for the impact that student-athletes can have on others, and are an inspiration to Allstate, our agents and our employees.”
Tackles or touchdowns have no bearing on this award, for it is the many examples of volunteerism and giving back that have earned these players nominations from their respective colleges and universities. Russell was nominated by GSU sports information director Barrett Gilham.
From comforting patients at children’s hospitals, to building houses for needy families, to mentoring at-risk youth, each Allstate AFCA Good Works Team member has his own unique and inspiring story.
“After looking through the list of nominees for the 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, we are recognizing some of the best student-athletes in all of college football,” said Grant Teaff, executive director of the AFCA. “These 117 nominees understand the impact each of them have on their schools and communities, and it gives me great pleasure in recognizing their efforts for what they stand for, and what they mean to college football.”
From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the country on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Allstate AFCA Good Works Team members and prominent college football media members will select two 11-player Good Works Teams — one comprised of players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and another representing players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II and III, and the NAIA. The final roster of 22 award recipients will be unveiled in September.
Allstate and the AFCA will launch the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team website on ESPN.com featuring profiles and images of the final team members, as well as the opportunity for fans to vote for the 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain.
The 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel includes: former Good Works Team members Alex Van Pelt (Pittsburgh, 1992 team), Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997, 1998 teams), Grant Irons (Notre Dame, 1999 team), Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team), Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team); media members Lou Holtz (ESPN), Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN), Tom O’Toole (USA Today), Andy Staples (SI.com), Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star); current AFCA President and Harvard University Head Coach Tim Murphy; 1987 AFCA President LaVell Edwards, former head coach at Brigham Young University; and Kathy Mabe, President, West Regions at Allstate.
In order to meet the criteria set forth by Allstate and the AFCA, each player must be actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization, service group or community service while maintaining a strong academic standing.