Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith is among 11 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) students, and 22 football students across all divisions, chosen for the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, while Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald was named the honorary head coach for this year’s Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, it was announced Thursday by Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA).
Now in its 26th year, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team was established to shine a spotlight on the incredible stories of selflessness and community service displayed by the selected students and their honorary head coach, and recognizes their dedication to volunteerism and enriching the lives of others.
Since 2009, the Big Ten has had 17 students named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, with Smith the first Big Ten student chosen for the honor since 2015, when Ohio State’s Joshua Perry and Penn State’s Ben Kline represented the conference.
The members of the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team were chosen by a national voting panel that includes former Good Works Team honorees and prominent college football media members. This year’s Good Works Team selections will be invited to New Orleans to participate in a special community service project prior to the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl, where the entire team will also be honored on the field at halftime.
Smith graduated from Penn State last December with his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. He is currently working towards a second undergraduate degree in health policy and administration with a 3.81 grade-point average, and he was chosen as a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honoree in 2016.
Smith is also active in the community, between his numerous activities with the Nittany Lion football team and helping with his wife’s non-profit organization, Honduran Soles, which provides shoes to children who need them in various countries. Smith and his wife also traveled to Honduras in 2015 to help build a soccer field and they have volunteered at homeless shelters and done additional service projects through their church, Revival Tabernacle, in Watsontown, Pa., not far from his hometown of Winfield.
Fitzgerald, who is in his 11th season as the head coach at his alma mater, is extremely involved with a myriad of community organizations across Chicagoland, and has built a culture of service throughout the Wildcats’ football program.
The full releases on this year’s Allstate AFCA Good Works Team issued by the AFCA, Northwestern and Penn State can be found by clicking HERE, HERE and HERE.