Football

Marshall’s Yurachek among 146 Nominees for 2017 Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team®

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Release from Allstate/AFCA, edited for Herd Insider by Woody Woodrum

NORTHBROOK, Ill. – Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) today announced 146 nominees for the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®, one of the most prestigious off-the-field honors in college football. Marshall University senior tight end Ryan Yurachek was chosen as a nominee, as were five other Conference USA players and one player from NC State, who the Herd meets on Sept. 9 at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C.

Last season, Yurachek was honored by the John Mackey Award, Wuerffel Trophy and AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) Good Works Team. He has already been named to Athlon’s preseason first team C-USA football team.

Yurachek returns as the team’s active leader in career receptions (89), receiving yards (864), touchdown receptions (16), and scoring (96), and in addition to that has started 23-of-24 games since he was a sophomore. He enters the 2017 season with a streak of 29 consecutive games with a reception, a streak dating back to Nov. 15, 2014, when he caught four passes for 31 yards against Rice.

Sophomore Ryan Yurachek focused on the catch.

During his sophomore season in 2015, Allstate Good Hands nominee Ryan Yurachek is focused on the catch. (HI file photo by Brad Helton, now of UFC)

“Chek” played in 11 games last season, including 10 starts, and finished with 28 receptions for 298 yards and five touchdowns despite battling a knee injury. He tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions with five scores and he caught a pass in all 11 games in which he played, extending one of the nation’s longest such streak. The Marshall record is 42-consecutive games, set by John “Fuzzy” Filliez in 1973-76, a NCAA record at the time (Filliez caught a pass in his first Marshall game of 11 in 1973, had no catch in his second game of ’73, and then caught a pass in every game left in his career, 43-of-44 games played in his career, finishing No. 7 all-time in career receptions for NCAA Division I in 1976 – his 168 catches are still ninth, tied with another Marshall great, Randy Moss, who played for the Herd in 1996-97, during a transition from I-AA/FCS in ’96 to I-A/FBS in ’97).

Yurachek has finished on the C-USA Honor Roll in 2015-16 and 2016-17  (3.0 or better GPA). He was a two-time game captain in 2016. He is majoring in Marketing at Marshall, playing as a true freshman in 2014, and came to Marshall with offers from Appy State and Georgia Southern from the Sun Belt Conference as well as FBS schools like Liberty, Holy Cross, The Citadel and Charleston Southern and had interest from Clemson, Duke, East Carolina, and South Carolina, as his father (Hunter) was the AD at Coastal Carolina before moving to Houston as AD in 2015.

Other players from C-USA include Middle Tennessee’s Brent Stockstill, Old Dominion’s Josh Marriner, UAB’s Shaq Jones, UTEP’s Ryan Metz, and WKU’s Marcus Ward. One player who will meet the Herd in 2017 with the the NC State Wolfpack placing A.J. Cole, III, on the Allstate team list.

MTSU 2017 Brett Stockstill from American Sports Network

Middle Tennessee quarterback Brett Stockstill leads a group of Conference USA players named to the Allstate Good Hands nominees list, signing autographs after Middle’s spring game. (courtesy American Sports Network)

Since 1992, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® has brought together a select group of college football players from across the country to honor their dedication to volunteerism and enriching the lives of others. While players are often recognized for their accomplishments and achievements on game day, 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,” 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. “The individuals nominated to the 2017 Good Works Team® are making a positive impact and uniting communities across the country through service, showing what’s possible when you put all hands in and give back.”

The student-athletes nominated for this esteemed award embody the true spirit of teamwork and selflessness, donating their limited free time to helping and serving others. From founding a non-profit that helps orphans secure jobs in the workforce to raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer research, the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® nominees may wear different jerseys on the field, but they all exemplify a superior commitment to giving back off of it.

“After looking at the bios of the 146 nominees we received for 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, it really shows that there are great football student-athletes all over this country who just don’t care what happens between the sidelines, but they also care about their community and giving back to others,” Todd Berry, AFCA Executive Director said. “The AFCA has been proud to partner with Allstate these past 10 years to honor football players who give more of themselves to help others in need.”

Two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner and 2009 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® member Tim Tebow will headline the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® voting panel. “As a former Good Works Team member, I’m proud to join Allstate for the second year in a row to recognize student-athletes who share my passion for making a difference,” says Tebow. “This award shines a light on the good works players are doing off the field and in the community, and the lives that they’re changing.”

In addition to Tebow and Clarkson, the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® selection panel members 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) 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, former WVU and Michigan and current University of Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez; and 2001 AFCA President and current athletic director at Virginia Union University Joe Taylor.

Once the final team members are announced in September, college football 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 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® Captain. Throughout the season, fans can also follow along and join in on the conversation by searching and using #GoodWorksTeam on their social media channels. 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.

The following players have been nominated for consideration to be named to the 2017 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®:

Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS):

Alabama – Minkah Fitzpatrick

Arizona State – Tashon Smallwood

Arkansas – Frank Ragnow

Arkansas State – Blaise Taylor

Auburn – Daniel Carlson

Baylor – Taylor Young

Boise State – Brett Rypien

Bowling Green State – Nate Locke

BYU – Fred Warner

Cal – Raymond Davison

Clemson – Christian Wilkins

Colorado State – Zack Golditch

Connecticut – Vontae Diggs

Duke – Gabe Brandner

East Carolina – Jimmy Williams

Florida State – Mavin Saunders

Georgia – Aaron Davis

Georgia Southern – Myles Campbell

Georgia Tech – Matthew Jordan

Houston – Steven Dunbar

Illinois – Nick Allegretti

Indiana – Rashard Fant

Kansas – Joe Dineen, Jr.

Kansas State – Dalton Risner

Kentucky – Courtney Love

LSU – Danny Etling

Louisiana-Lafayette – Grant Horst

Louisville – Lamar Jackson

Maryland – Adam Greene

Marshall – Ryan Yurachek

Memphis – Spencer Smith

Miami, Fla. – Demetrius Jackson

Middle Tennessee – Brent Stockstill*

Minnesota – Eric Carter

Mississippi – Javon Patterson

Mississippi State – Gabe Myles

Missouri – Corey Fatony

Nebraska – Chris Weber

Nevada – Austin Corbett

North Carolina – Austin Proehl

NC State – A.J. Cole, III*

Northwestern – Justin Jackson

Notre Dame – Tyler Newsome

Ohio State– J.T. Barrett

Oklahoma – Nick Basquine

Oklahoma State – Mason Rudolph

Old Dominion – Josh Marriner*

Penn State – Brandon Smith

Pitt – Brian O’Neill

Rutgers – Sebastian Joseph

San Jose State University – Nate Velichko

SMU – Justin Lawler

South Alabama – Tre Alford

Stanford – Harrison Phillips

Syracuse – Zack Mahoney

TCU – Shaun Nixon

Texas A&M – Koda Martin

Texas State – Gabe Schrade

Tulane– Parry Nickerson

UAB – Shaq Jones

UCF– Shaquem Griffin

UCLA – Kenny Young

USC – Jordan Austin

UTEP – Ryan Metz

Tennessee – Todd Kelly, Jr.

Texas – Naashon Hughes

Toledo – Cody Thompson

Tulsa – Willie Wright

Utah – Chase Hansen

Virginia – Quin Blanding

Wisconsin – Derrick Tindal

Utah State – Jontrell Rocquemore

Vanderbilt – Tommy Openshaw

Virginia Tech – Joey Slye

West Virginia – Rob Dowdy

WKU – Marcus Ward*

Underline-Conference USA Players

*On Marshall schedule

About Woody Woodrum

Senior Editor and columnist/writer for Herd Insider since 2003, with Kindred Communications on radio for Marshall football/men's basketball pregame and postgame shows since 1996 and with First Sentry Bank Sportsline (Also Scott on Sports, Sideline Sports and Herd Insider Sportsline) since 1997. Married to Liz (12-22-1990) and one son, Tre' (11-7-1997). National Sportswriters & Sportscasters West Virginia Broadcaster of the Year winner for radio, 2000; won W.Va. Broadcasters Best Talk Show in 2013 with co-host Paul Swann and W.Va. Broadcasters Best Play-by-Play in 2015 with Jason Toy (Huntington at South Charleston, state AAA semifinals). Member of (College) Football Writers Association of America, (College) Basketball Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Color commentator for Marshall football (1999-2000), for Marshall basketball (2004-2016) and Marshall baseball (2004-2016). Color for high school football at Spring Valley (1999-2008), Cabell Midland (2009-2012) and Huntington (W.Va.) High School (2013-2016).

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