Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University and the city of Big Rapids will be represented on college football's biggest stage New Year's Day as Bulldog senior center Jake Daugherty (Big Rapids) will be honored on the field at halftime of the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.
Daugherty is one of 22 college football players from all levels in the entire country, including one of only 11 non-NCAA Division I student-athletes, that will be recognized for their contributions as student-athletes in their community as part of being chosen to the 2017 Allstate AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Good Works Team this year.
This year's 84th annual Sugar Bowl takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Jan. 1 and will double as one of the College Football Playoff Semifinals pitting Alabama and Clemson. Kickoff is set for 8:45 p.m. (ET) and the game will be televised live by ESPN in front of a sold out crowd of over 70,000 fans.
The entire 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team has been invited to New Orleans to participate in a special community service project ahead of the 2018 Allstate Sugar Bowl, where the entire team will be recognized on the field at halftime. Among other activities during the trip, the team members will take part in Allstate's "All Hands In" community service initiative on New Year's Eve in which they will volunteer alongside employees and special guests including Tim Tebow and Imagine Dragons to refurbish a local community youth center.
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 27 national champions, 92 Hall of Fame players, 48 Hall of Fame coaches and 17 Heisman Trophy winners in its 83-year history. The 84th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic will mark the second College Football Playoff Semifinal hosted by the Sugar Bowl Committee.
The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® was established in 1992 by the College Football Association, recognizing the extra efforts made by college football players and student support staff off the field. AFCA became the governing body of the award in 1997 and continues to honor college football players who go the extra mile for those in need. Allstate worked to present the award starting with the 2008 season.
Earlier this summer, sports information directors from Division I, Division II, Division III and NAIA schools across the country submitted nominations of players they felt best embodied the spirit of the Good Works Team® award, one of the most coveted off-the-field honors in college football. An esteemed voting panel consisting of former Good Works Team® members – including two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner and 2009 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® member Tim Tebow – and prominent college football media members narrowed down the nominees to the final roster.
Previously, Daugherty was announced as one of 146 nominees from across the country. Tebow and the rest of the voting panel narrowed the list down to the final 22 student-athletes and a honorary coach named to the team. From helping to build homes overseas to providing resources to foster care children, the members of the 2017 Good Works Team® are changing the lives of others both locally and abroad.
In addition to Tebow, the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team selection panel included: Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997, 1998 teams), Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team), Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team) and Wes Counts (Middle Tennessee State, 1999 team); media members Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN), Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star) and Paul Myerberg (USA TODAY); current AFCA President and University of Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez; 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.
"These select student-athletes and honorary head coach are an inspiration for their commitment to enriching the lives of others while contributing to the greater good of society," said Thomas Clarkson, president of the west territory for Allstate Insurance Company and a member of the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel. "We are proud to honor this outstanding group of individuals and to help give back to the communities and organizations that are part of the fabric of college football culture."
"The 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team is a shining example of the great student-athletes that populate the rosters of college football teams all across the nation," AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry said. "Since 2008, the AFCA takes great pride in working with Allstate to honor these 22 outstanding student-athletes, and honorary head coach Pat Fitzgerald, who go above and beyond to make their universities and communities a better place."
The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 11,000 members around the world ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to "maintain the highest possible standards in football and in the coaching profession" and to "provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football."
Daugherty, a Big Rapids native, was a three-year starter and three-time All-American for the Bulldogs who helped lead the Bulldogs to back-to-back national quarterfinal appearances in 2016 and 2017. The three-time All-GLIAC pick has also claimed GLIAC All-Academic Team recognition and has been highly-active in various campus and community activities throughout his time as a member and leader on the FSU football team. He's also been a role model to many of the youth in the Big Rapids area thru his endeavors such as reading to schools, teaching the game and more.
The hometown product from Big Rapids was recently named the runner-up for the 2017 Gene Upshaw Award presented to the nation's most outstanding Division II offensive or defensive lineman in the country presented by the Manheim Touchdown Club. He was also tabbed to the 2017 Associated Press All-America Team.
This year, Daugherty helped lead the Bulldogs to their fourth consecutive NCAA Division II Playoff appearance. FSU reached the D2 National Quarterfinals for the second consecutive campaign.
Last year, Daugherty helped the Bulldog offense generate a school-record 563 total points and a program all-time best 7,190 yards of total offense in 2016. As the squad's starting center, he helped pave the way offensively as quarterback Reggie Bell led all signal callers in the country in rushing yardage during the regular-season, marking the fifth-straight year a Bulldog QB had accomplished the feat.
This season, Daugherty helped the Bulldogs finish the recent 2017 campaign with an 11-2 overall record. FSU's 11 wins this season marked the fourth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs had achieved the feat, which represents the first time in school history in which FSU had done so over four-straight years.
As part of this year's senior class, he also helped the Bulldogs achieve a 45-7 overall record over the past four years with four playoff appearances, two conference championships, two national quarterfinal berths, a semifinal game appearance and a super region championship.