By Chuck Pool (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rice senior quarterback Driphus Jackson is among 197 college football players who have been nominated for the 2015 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The annual honor is awarded to a group of players who exemplify a superior commitment to community service and volunteerism.
Jackson, who is heading into his second year as the Owls starting quarterback and as a team captain, was nominated for a lengthy record of work in the community. Most recently, he has been one of the leaders of "Team Ziggy", an effort by the football team to provide support to seven year old Fre'derick "Ziggy" Stovall-Redd who has battled leukemia not just once, but twice. The Owls held a signing ceremony for Stovall-Redd and Jackson has been his host at practices as well as providing support during his medical treatments.
Jackson has also spent countless hours working with the Nehemiah Center and was asked to speak at their annual "Have a Heart" ceremony. He has also volunteered for the Challenger Games which gives children with special needs a chance to play football with the Rice Football team for the day and serves as a host during the annual International Students football clinic. In his "spare" time Driphus has spent time volunteering with the Sunshine Kids and visiting patients at Texas Children's Hospital and the MD Anderson Cancer Institute.
On the field, Jackson capped off his first year as the Owls starting quarterback in 2014 by capturing the Most Valuable Player Award in the 2014 Hawai'i Bowl. Jackson set a Rice bowl record by throwing for 318 yards and tying a second with three touchdown passes in the Owls' 30-3 win over Fresno State. He finished the year ranked third in the country by averaging 14.9 yards per pass attempt, throwing for 2,842 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Since its inception in 1992, the award highlights the "good" taking place off the football field. The select group of student-athletes nominated for this award by their respective colleges and universities are able to balance academics
Comprised of 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision and 11 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and the NAIA, the final roster of 22 award recipients will be unveiled in September. From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation 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 the 2015 Good Works Team.®
The 2015 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), Bruce Feldman (Fox Sports), Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star); current AFCA President and University of Cincinnati head coach Tommy Tuberville; 1987 AFCA President and former head coach at Brigham Young University LaVell Edwards; and Jim Haskins, Executive Vice President, Allstate Brand Distribution.
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 2015 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.