Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
NEW ORLEANS -- Greetings from the Allstate Sugar Bowl, where two ACC players will be honored at halftime for their commitment to community service.
Too often the off-field incidents reported are negative, and the "Good Works" of athletes like Duke running back Re'quan Boyette and Maryland quarterback Jordan Steffy go unnoticed.
Not in the ACC blogosphere. Here we take the good, the bad, and the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
Seriously, though, players like Steffy and Boyette -- even though they didn't play this season -- deserve some recognition. There are plenty of other players who have taken on important leadership roles with their teams, too (FSU safety Myron Rolle and Georgia Tech defensive tackle Darryl Richard come to mind), but Boyette and Steffy were named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, and they came to New Orleans to help with a rebuilding project here.
We're not talking about athletes who spent five minutes tutoring local middle schoolers here, either. We're talking about significant time sacrifices -- something college football players don't have a lot of to spare.
Earlier this morning, Boyette, Steffy and 20 other college football players participated in a clean-up initiative in the Oak Park neighborhood. At halftime, there will be an on-field ceremony and video tribute.
Boyette was a "Big Brother" to a student at Lakewood Elementary in the spring of 2006 and spent a couple of hours a week with him. They still keep in touch.
Boyette has also volunteered at the Erwin Gardens Rehabilitation Center and the Forest at Duke, a pair of Durham nursing homes. He visited once or twice a week and talked with residents. He also volunteered at YE Smith Elementary School once a week and helped kids with their homework projects or tutored them for their classes.
But wait, there's more ...
Boyette has also volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and the Durham Rescue Mission. He visited residents and helped serve meals at the Ronald McDonald House. He has been to the Durham Rescue Mission twice and helped out with serving meals. As part of Duke's community service programs, he has also gone to local elementary schools for the Read With the Blue Devils program where Duke student-athletes read to kids and stress the importance of reading.
Steffy started his own non-profit organization, Children Deserve a Chance Foundation, which raised more than $50,000 in 2008 to aid young people in need, and he wants to expand his foundation in order to contribute even more.
The foundation currently is in the process of constructing a developmental youth center near Steffy's hometown in Lancaster, Pa., that will provide area children with educational opportunities, as well as supervision following school days and during summer vacation.
"A lot of the kids are from poverty-stricken areas and really need our help," Steffy said in a release. "We want to give these kids the same opportunity that the kids at the private schools and at the best public schools are getting."
Steffy has also participated multiple times with the TERP reading program which has student-athletes visit local elementary schools. His involvement with the local schools led him to chosen as the graduation speaker at Ellicott Mills Middle School.
Other community service efforts include visits to the National Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., and participation in the 2007 HIV Holiday party in Baltimore. He has also taken part in the America Counts initiative and most recently participated in the Relay for Life.
Steffy began the season as Maryland's starting quarterback, but for the second year in a row, lost the job to Chris Turner after he was sidelined with an injury. Boyette had knee surgery on Aug. 9, and missed the entire season after leading the Blue Devils in rushing in 2006 and 2007.
There is certainly no shame in having a greater impact off the field than on it.