by Alan Babbitt
Hope College's Mason Dekker is one of 137 nominees for the 2019 Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team®.
The senior from Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa HS) is an education major. He earned All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Second Team honors at linebacker last season.
Established in 1992, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® is comprised of 22 college football student-athletes and one honorary head coach from the NCAA and NAIA who make outstanding contributions in the areas of volunteerism and civic involvement.
Head coach Peter Stuursma is proud to nominate Dekker for the award.
"Mason Dekker is what college athletics is all about," Stuursma said. "Mason is a true student-athlete in every sense and is driven to change the world. We are very fortunate to have Mason share his gifts with so many people around him. We are very proud of what he has accomplished and inspired by the impact he will continue to have on young people as an educator and a difference maker."
Off the field, Dekker has volunteered at Camp Sunshine in Park Township, a program where people ages 12-50 with mild to moderate cognitive impairments have the opportunity to attend summer camp in a safe, caring and inclusive environment.
Dekker also has taken part in the Flying Dutchmen's contribution to the Hope College Dance Marathon that raises money for DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.
Dekker is a three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll. He plans to be a social studies teacher after graduation.
This is the second consecutive Dekker has been nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®. To be considered, each student-athlete must be actively involved with a charitable organization or service group while maintaining a strong academic standing.
The final roster of 23 award recipients will be announced in September, bringing together 11 players from the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision;11 players from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA); and one honorary head coach.
"To be named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team is no small feat and goes above and beyond sportsmanship and leadership in the classroom or on the field," said Tim Tebow, two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner and 2009 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® member. "These student-athletes believe in the power of giving back and enriching the lives of others, while also helping to shape the lives of future young athletes. Each year, I am struck by the caliber of these nominees and humbled to be a part of telling their stories."
The final 22-member team and honorary coach is selected by a voting panel consisting of former Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® members and prominent media members who look for both their dedication to giving back and the embodiment of true leadership on and off the football field.
In addition to Tebow and O'Donnell, the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® selection panel members include: Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team); Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997, 1998 teams); Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team); Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team); Wes Counts (Middle Tennessee State, 1999 team); media members Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN), Blair Kerkhoff (Kansas City Star), and Paul Myerberg (USA TODAY); 2019 AFCA President and Ohio University Head Coach, Frank Solich; and 2001 AFCA President and current athletic director at Virginia Union University, Joe Taylor.