MOORHEAD, Minn. (NDSU Athletics) -- A school visit by members of the North Dakota State University football team to Robert Asp Elementary turned into a surprise award presentation for NDSU tight end Ben Ellefson, who was presented with the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team trophy Thursday, Sept. 19.
Ellefson was one of 22 student-athletes named to the Good Works Team, which recognizes 11 players from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 11 from the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA for their leadership in local communities and overall commitment to giving back.
Ellefson has been involved in local classroom reading, hospital visits, food drives, and was on a Fellowship of Christian Athletes mission trip to the Dominican Republic last spring. He says it's a special feeling to give back and see the excitement on the children's faces when he and his teammate are out in the community.
"I was probably one of those kids at one point when they were coming in talking to us," Ellefson said. "I know how it feels, and anytime you can give back and make their day is pretty cool."
Ellefson and teammates James Hendricks, Garrett Malstrom and Derrek Tuszka played about a half-hour of "capture the football" with third graders Thursday, enjoying a warm and sunny morning in the school yard. Ellefson has previously worked with youth fitness programs such as SchoolsAlive! and TNT Kids Fitness.
"Ben's been a leader within our program since he stepped foot on campus," said NDSU head coach Matt Entz. "We asked him to present to the team in fall camp, and it was the first time we had asked a current player to present. He did an outstanding job, and I think he only solidified his role as a leader but also as an individual who truly cares about his teammates and the people around him."
The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be invited to the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl and will join former Good Works Team honoree Tim Tebow and Allstate volunteers to give back to New Orleans through a special community service project. Allstate will recognize the team during the halftime show.
Fans are invited to visit ESPN.com/Allstate to vote for the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team captain once per day, now through Nov. 22. The team captain will be honored at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN later this season.
Ellefson is the eighth NDSU player to be recognized on the Good Works Team, joining quarterback Easton Stick (2018), cornerback Richard Bowman (2009), running back Tyler Roehl (2008), quarterback Steve Walker (2007), running back Kyle Steffes (2006), offensive tackle Tim Popowski (2005) and safety Jared Essler (2004).
2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team
Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)
Marcel Dancy, University of California
Spencer Eason-Riddle, University of South Carolina
Jake Fromm, University of Georgia
Denzel Goolsby, Kansas State University
Koby Quansah, Duke University
Isaiah Sanders, U.S. Air Force Academy
James Smith-Williams, North Carolina State University
Tre Tipton, University of Pittsburgh
Bryce Torneden, University of Kansas
Connor Wedington, Stanford University
Landon Young, University of Kentucky
Combined Divisions (FCS, II, III, NAIA)
Ben Bartch, St. John's University (Minn.)
Luke Bevilacqua, Wayne State University (Mich.)
Ben Ellefson, North Dakota State University
Aaron Feazelle, Mississippi College
George Hatalowich, Davidson College
Jacob Katzer, Morningside College
Ryan Landis, Frostburg State University
Danny Munoz, Bethel University (Minn.)
Ryan Oliver, Utica College (N.Y.)
Dante Olson, University of Montana
Josh Pearson, Jacksonville State University
Honorary Head Coach
Dabo Swinney, Clemson University