Despite the recent news of an investigation of Rutgers football players due to credit card fraud, there are many positives occurring off the field within the program as well. On Tuesday, offensive lineman Zach Heeman was nominated for the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team due to his commitment to community service.
Zack Heeman represents @RFootball as a nominee for the AFCA Good Works Team! Considered one of the most prestigious off-the-field honors in college football.— Rutgers Scarlet Knights (@RUAthletics) July 17, 2018
Release: https://t.co/t50eBQyXbd#TheHunt #GoRU pic.twitter.com/bqGOFB67uY
From the Rutgers press release:
“Community service is a way to give thanks to your parents and show how you were raised,” Heeman, an offensive lineman with 24 games of experience, said. “It is also a way to thank Rutgers for a scholarship and the opportunity to play in front of the fans. They provide great support to us and being active in the community is a way to give back.”
Here is more info about the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team:
“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. Recent Scarlet Knights nominated include Sebastian Joseph, Derrick Nelson, Quentin Gause, David Milewski, Brandon Coleman, Khaseem Greene and Scott Vallone.”
While at Rutgers, the Budd Lake, New Jersey native has given back in multiple ways, including speaking to high school students on behalf of The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide on mental health and resiliency to honor his brother, Luke. He has raised money for the Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk, worked with Operation Shoe Box to send supplies to the troops, as well as given his time working at soup kitchens, community cleanup events, football clinics, visiting children at hospitals and taking part in the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics in New Jersey, something Rutgers football players have done for a long time.
The fifth-year senior has played in 24 career games at Rutgers, including five starts along the offensive line at multiple positions. He is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and was named a 2018 Big Ten Scholar, which is given to student-athletes who achieve a 3.7 GPA or better for the academic year. Heeman projects as the first backup on the right side of the offensive line heading into training camp.
The final roster of 22 players for the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team is announced in September. Hopefully, Heeman is included, as his efforts off the field have been extraordinary and he has represented Rutgers football in the best way possible.