Jan. 2, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky football player Jacob Lewellen is attending the 2011 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., as a member of the 2011 Good Works Team selected by the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association.
Lewellen, who will be introduced during Tuesday’s game at halftime, arrived in New Orleans on Sunday along with the other members of the team. During his few days there, Lewellen and the other members of the team have participated in several community service activities, including holding a football skills camp for underprivileged youth in downtown New Orleans. At the camp, Lewellen said he taught specific football skills to the youth and then played games.
Later Monday night, the 2011 Good Works Team will be introduced at a Fan Fest concert, featuring recording artist Kelly Clarkson.
“It’s a great honor to come down here and represent the University of Kentucky,” Lewellen said. “Getting to meet all the other guys on the Good Works Team has been rewarding because it’s great to see what all they have done to give back to their communities. The fans down here have accepted us with open arms and it has been a great experience.”
The native of Louisville, Ky., has been very involved in community service projects during his Kentucky career, leading the team in volunteer hours in giving back to the community.
He is active in “Athletes in Action,” an international Christian sports ministry organization in which he serves as a Leadership Team Member. With AIA he has led two weekly Bible studies on campus - one for freshman football team members and one for all upperclassmen on campus. He also has mentored freshman football players on a weekly basis and has spent his last two spring breaks in mission work, traveling to Nicaragua in the spring of 2010 and speaking to a youth detention center in Daytona Beach, Fla., in 2011.
During the summer, Lewellen spearheaded a group of UK athletes and staff members to pack bags of supplies to take to Joplin, Mo., after the town was devastated by a tornado in July, 2011. Lewellen also got his football teammates to donate money to the cause, and together, he, his dad and teammate Max Godby drove to Joplin to help.
The three men went to a church in Joplin, where they delivered 100 bags filled with toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, folders, pens, pencils, paper and bibles.
Lewellen's work to organize the donations and personally deliver to the town is just one example of his off-field resume. Lewellen has also been a guest speaker at local elementary schools, met with local veterans and befriended a three-year-old cancer patient at Lexington's Hope Lodge.
Lewellen said he has two motivations for service – his faith and the inspiration he received from a teammate, former Wildcat offensive lineman Marcus Davis.
“Marcus got me involved (with service) when I got here,” Lewellen said. “He showed me that I need to surrender myself and serve the community. Christ is also (a motivation). If I didn’t see the gospel, I wouldn’t have the motivation to serve.
“Helping people is something that we, as athletes, should do. Athletics is a platform and we should use it to serve.”
Coach Joker Phillips is proud of the honor bestowed upon Lewellen.
“Jacob is a great example of our student-athlete model of Operation Win,” Phillips said. “He’s a winner in the classroom, gives a winning effort on the field and is obviously a winner in the community.”
Lewellen is the 11th Wildcat to be chosen during the 20 years of the Good Works Team. Kentucky ranks third all-time among Division I schools, behind Georgia and Nebraska, for players chosen for the team.