University of Colorado junior outside linebacker Derek McCartney was one of 24 college football players named to the American Football Coaches Association's 2016 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, the AFCA and the insurance company announced jointly announced Thursday.
The 25th annual team is perhaps the most coveted off-the-field honors in the sport, as it recognizes and celebrates who dedicate their time to bettering the community and the lives of others.
McCartney made national headlines last March when he became a match for bone marrow through the Bonfils "Be the Match" program (bethematch.org) that matches donors with potential patients nationwide. McCartney was a match and when through the grueling process of donating, missing the bulk of CU's spring practices in the process.
CU head coach Mike MacIntyre is a strong supporter of the program, and has continued what he started when he was at San Jose State, having his teams canvass the campus to promote the program and get students to enroll in it.
"It's a real surprise, certainly nothing I expected," McCartney said. "It was just a really cool opportunity I had to participate in such a program that was the reason for me to be named to this prestigious team. It's a real honor. But more important is that being on this team will hopefully generate more publicity for the 'Be the Match' program, so people can learn about it and participate themselves and more lives could be saved."
McCartney is the fifth Buffalo to be honored on the team; Derek West made the inaugural one in 1992, followed by Robbie Robinson (2001), George Hypolite (2007) and Brian Lockridge (2011).
"Derek McCartney to me is the perfect poster child for the Good Works Team," MacIntyre said. "Derek represents everything the Good Works Team would want to represent. He's an excellent student; he's going to be a doctor. He's a selfless person who puts others on his team first; he's a great leader. The act that he did - for our bone marrow initiative - was a totally selfless act in caring enough to give a person another chance in life. He exemplifies what you want all college athletes to exemplify. Derek McCartney is an off-the-charts type of person. He's a great example to our players and our whole campus here at Colorado."