NCCU’s Velarde Named to Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

Posted September 18, 2023, 12:37PM

North Carolina Central University punter Juan Velarde is one of only 22 college football players in the nation to earn distinguished recognition for exemplary community impact as a member of the 2023 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®, announced by Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association on Tuesday (Sept. 12).
 
For more than 30 years, Allstate and the AFCA spotlight student-athletes whose remarkable stories often go unnoticed. The final team was selected out of 136 student-athletes who were nominated from across the county.
 
“It’s inspiring to see how these young men on the 2023 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team choose to use their gifts and talents to be a blessing to their community,” said Tim Tebow, two-time national champion, Heisman Trophy winner and 2009 Good Works Team member. “Serving and loving people can help reveal the greater purpose that we can all have, not just in sports, but in life.”
 
Velarde (Anderson, S.C.) has been a community role model since he started at NCCU. He served as a speaker at the NC Governor’s Advisory Council for Hispanic and Latino Affairs as well the Annual Hispanic Educational summit, sharing his experience and entrepreneurial career plans. Within his community, Velarde has volunteered at Durham‐Raleigh El Centro Hispano to tutor and inspire students with his story.
 
“This is one of the highest community service awards college football players can receive,” said Sam Acho, ESPN analyst, author and 2010 Good Works Team member said. “It serves as an important reminder to these athletes: they’re more than just football players.”
 
A senior in the classroom, Velarde boasts a 3.97 cumulative grade point average (GPA) as a business administration major with a concentration in entrepreneurship at NCCU. He is a member of the University Honors Program and the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society. He also earned the NCCU Football Eagle Excellence award for having the highest GPA on the team, was a recipient of the 2022 University Scholar-Athlete Award by the National Football Foundation's Bill Dooley Chapter, and was honored as a member of the 2022 Academic All-District® Football Team, selected by College Sports Communicators.
 
He participates in numerous clubs and organizations, including the NCCU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee Student-Athlete Connection Group and The National Society of Leadership and Success.
 
On the field, Velarde ranked third in the MEAC in punting with an average distance of 41.3 yards per punt in 2022, helping the Eagles to a MEAC championship and the HBCU national championship title.
 
“I’m in awe of what these players have accomplished in terms of service and academics,” said Troy Hawkes, executive vice president and general manager of sales at Allstate. “They exemplify what it means to go above and beyond in being a role model and pillars in the community.”
 
Velarde is the sixth NCCU football student-athlete to earn distinction on the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® in recent years, joining Jordan Reid in 2013, Carl Jones in 2016, Nick Leverett in 2018, Stephen Stokes in 2020, and Jessie Malit in 2021.
 
“It’s amazing to see what these athletes have done at such a young age,” AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry said. “They balance athletics, schoolwork and community service. This is an outstanding group of men who will continue the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team legacy.”
 
Throughout the season, fans can join the conversation using #GoodWorksTeam on their social media channels to help others learn more about these players and their stories.
 
For more information about the AFCA, visit www.AFCA.com. 
 
For more information on NCCU Athletics, visit NCCUEaglePride.com or download the NCCU Eagles Athletics app.
 

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