NORTHBROOK, Ill. - De'Onte Garrett, a senior defensive lineman for the Harding football team, is among 165 nominees for the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, one of the most coveted off-the-field honors in college football.
Garrett, of El Dorado, Arkansas, spearheads Harding Football's Bison Buddies, a mentoring program for Harding's players in local elementary schools.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the award, which was established in 1992 to recognize a select group of college football players who have made a commitment to service and enriching the lives of others.
For 25 years, the players selected have carried on the award's mission by demonstrating that "good works" extend beyond the football field. This year's nominees uphold impressive service resumes detailing inspiring stories of servitude and the exceptional ability to balance academics with athletics, while donating their limited free time and energy to helping others.
"Allstate is proud to join the AFCA in celebrating 25 years of honoring college football players who represent the sport's finest in volunteerism and leadership," said Thomas Clarkson, president of the west territory for Allstate Insurance Company and a member of the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel. "The positive impact these young athletes have on their communities is an inspiration to us all and another reason to celebrate the good happening in our communities."
With winning records and championships on the line each season, off-the-field service contributions can go overlooked. The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team pays tribute to these stories of good and the student-athletes who have dedicated countless hours towards helping others. From donating bone marrow to save a stranger's life, to helping build a school in a rural village overseas, the players nominated to the 25th anniversary team have demonstrated a unique commitment to improving their communities.
"The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team has been one of the most prestigious off-the-field awards in college football for the past 25 years," AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry said. "It is with great pride that we partner with Allstate to highlight some of the best student-athletes in the country who not only excel on the field, but off of it as well."
In honor of the 25th anniversary, Allstate and the AFCA will add three additional spots to this year's team and announce a final roster of 25 members in September. For the first time in the award's history, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be comprised of 12 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, 12 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and the NAIA and an honorary head coach.
From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Good Works Team members and prominent college football media members will select the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.
The 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel includes: former Good Works Team members Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997, 1998 teams), Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team), Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team), media members Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN) and Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star); current AFCA President and Ashland University head coach Lee Owens; 2001 AFCA President and current athletic director at Virginia Union University Joe Taylor; and Thomas Clarkson, president of the west territory for Allstate Insurance Company.
Once the final team members are announced in September, fans are encouraged to visit the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team website on ESPN.com, featuring profiles and images of the players, for the opportunity to vote for the 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain.
In order to meet the criteria set forth by Allstate and the AFCA, each player must be actively involved with a charitable organization or service group while maintaining a strong academic standing.