For Tim Tebow, service and community have utmost importance. Becoming the Ambassador of the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team just made sense.
Tis the season of watch lists and speculation. Who will be crowned the champion of the College Football Playoff? Who will take home the coveted Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award or one of the countless other honors? College football is a fever beginning to sweep across the nation. But there is one award that has special significance to two-time National Champion Tim Tebow: the All-State American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team.
The All-State (AFCA) Good Works Team focuses on accomplishments of college athletes off the field. The 2017 nominees have been released along with a statement regarding their merits:
“These student-athletes have made significant contributions to the greater good of society, inspiring future generations of young athletes and the larger college football community. Allstate is immensely honored to partner with the AFCA for the 10th year to help pay tribute to these players and their off-the-field ‘good works’ that often go unnoticed and unrewarded.”
Where does Tim Tebow come in? Tebow was a Good Works Team member in 2009 and is this year’s program ambassador. In an interview with Saturday Blitz, Tebow talked about his lifelong passion for service and his role with the Good Works Team this season.
Where did Tebow’s passion start?
When he was 15 years old Tim Tebow met a boy in the Philippines named Sherwin. Both of Sherwin’s feet were facing the wrong way. They were on backwards. For the local villagers that was an omen that led the to believe that Sherwin was cursed. Tebow says meeting Sherwin was the moment that changed his life forever. “What I wanted to do with my life was fight for people who couldn’t fight for themselves,” he recalled.
That boy sparked something inside of him and has been at the heart of all that Tebow has done for the community and the world. As a result of that life-changing moment the Tim Tebow Foundation was born. It’s mission statement reads: “To bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.” Faith, Hope and Love to boys like Sherwin.
There will be many awards given out for touchdowns, championships and on the field achievements this year. But the Allstate Good Works team is different. It recognizes young men for who they are off the field. “It’s not about the statistics,” says Tebow, “it’s about the story.”
Tebow is overjoyed to be able to be a part of the stories of these young athletes. There is an obvious connection between sports and influence. The men on this list aren’t just good guys, they’re good football players. With that talent comes influence. “Influence is a blessing,” remarked Tebow, “but it’s not something that is certain. You might not always have it. When you do have it, [you can] be influential for something that matters. I believe changing people’s lives is one of the greatest ways that we can matter.”
Shaq Jones exemplifies what the award is about
There were a total of 146 players from every level of college football nominated to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. Each one of them carries with them a story that goes beyond their football abilities. One man in particular that stuck out to Tebow was Alabama-Birmingham linebacker Shaq Jones.
UAB shut down its football program after the 2014-2015 season. That left players like Jones without any hope of wearing the jersey and putting on the pads ever again. During that time, when many fell away or lost focus, Jones made a difference. He became a mentor to foster kids and spent time with orphans.
The UAB program was reinstated in 2016. A graduate now, Jones will lead his team on the field in 2017. “For so many of us that love playing the game, you lose it. And sometimes that can really hurt you,” said Tebow, “but this kid just stayed faithful and continued to grind. Now he’s going to be a captain for his team. I think that is really special.”
Some 2017 noteworthy nominees
Each one of these 146 candidates has a story, as Tebow says, “It’s not about the statistics, it’s about the story. When you care, it does affect people.” The full list of nominees is available here.
Names of note on the list include former Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson as well as Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett, Auburn’s Daniel Carlson, Clemson’s Christian Wilkins, Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick and dozens of other players familiar to college football fans around the country.
Missing from the 2017 nominees were the Florida Gators. Instead, Florida State tight end Marvin Saunders made the list. When asked if the Gators would answer back on the football field, Tebow replied, “It’s one of the best rivalries in football… we need to get a game in versus those guys! It’s hard,” Tebow joked, “but you can keep things in perspective. We’ll celebrate the FSU player as well.”