By Florida A&M University Sports Information
NORTHBROOK, Ill. (Sept.18) – Florida A&M University (FAMU) linebacker Brandon Hepburn was selected to the Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. The senior from Pomona, N.Y. received his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in April of this year, but had another year of eligibility remaining. He is now in graduate school, pursuing an MBA at the FAMU School of Business and Industry.
This summer, the program received 117 nominations from colleges and universities hailing from 35 states. From the nominations, a prestigious voting panel comprised of former Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® members and college football media selected two 11-member teams – one featuring players competing in the NCAA® Football Bowl Subdivision and the other a combined team representing the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and the NAIA.
Each year, the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® raises the bar for the impact that student-athletes can have on their local communities.
Hepburn was happy to learn of the accomplishment.
“It’s an awesome blessing to be nominated for such an award – let alone actually get it,” he said.
With roughly 9,000 college football players eligible to compete for the award, Hepburn was one of 22 to earn it, and the only player from an HBCU.
“I attribute this honor to hard work, my coaching and my environment at FAMU. “God is good and I’m around a lot of great guys. Our coaches are like father figures and they always push me to persevere in the classroom and on the field. It’s just awesome to see the fruits of that result into this award,” Hepburn added.
Head coach Joe Taylor felt it was an award for a well-deserving guy.
“It’s really huge, because it’s an indication and recognition of not just his athletic and academic ability,” Taylor said. “It also takes into account his community service. There are All-American awards that recognize athletic ability and there are All-American awards that recognize academics. But this one encompasses all of that and more. It’s huge. I don’t know how many times a guy was recognized from an HBCU for that type of value. I am so proud of him, being on this team, representing this university,” Taylor said.
Hepburn was also selected to a team of college students who gathered in California to discuss methods of curing cancer. He is also one of the captains of the football team. In his spare time, which is sparse as a college student-athlete, he finds time to volunteer at the local homeless shelter.
On the field, Hepburn led the Rattlers in tackling this past weekend, accumulating 10 combined solo and assisted tackles. His leadership has been recognized during his playing career as he won two Army Strong awards in 2011. Additionally, the MEAC honored him, citing his accomplishments as a balanced student-athlete.
Position coach Earl Holmes feels Hepburn’s focus is impeccable.
“You’ve got to commend a guy like that because he does everything the right way,” Holmes said. “He’s a guy with a lot of pride and sound integrity. You coach the game to try to help young men grow up to be productive citizens in this country. We can’t take credit for what he’s done. He comes from a solid foundation and holds a solid set of values.”
Kathy Mabe, president of Allstate’s West regions and a member of the 2012 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team voting panel, said as fans of college football, Allstate takes great pride in partnering with the AFCA to recognize dedicated student-athletes for their accomplishments off the field.
“These players have demonstrated the unique ability to balance academics with athletics while donating their limited free time and energy to serve others,” she said. “We at Allstate commend them for their commitment to volunteerism.”
FAMU athletic director Derek Horne feels that the award represents the best we have to offer.
“This award is the epitome of an all-encompassing student-athlete,” Horne said. “Brandon has made us proud time and time again. When we bring athletes to FAMU, this is the level of achievement we expect from them, and it’s our job to create an environment for them to succeed. This is a result of Brandon’s hard work and focus. We are very proud of him for achieving this monumental award.”