University of Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer waits for the snap at a game last season.

Photo courtesty of the Univerist

When University of Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer isn’t on the field sacking quarterbacks or tackling running backs, the 2009 Ironwood Ridge graduate might be found off the field diving into community service.

The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Wildcats’ linebacker was recently nominated for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, one of college football’s most prestigious off-the-field honors, for his involvement in making a difference in his community.

Fischer, a junior on the field and senior in the classroom,  said he is honored to be nominated for the award, and couldn’t help but include his teammates in the recognition.

“I love our team because somebody is always looking to set something up in the community, and we all help each other out” he said. “We are blessed with this exposure, and we are blessed to be here. Giving back to the community is something we will continue to do.”

Some of Fischer’s community service accomplishments include: assisting with Special Olympics competitions, completing yard work for elderly low-income residents, working at the Community Food Bank, buffelgrass cleanup, and visiting sick children in local hospitals.

Fischer said the team is soon planning another trip to the University of Arizona’s Diamond Children’s Hospital, where they meet and greet patients, and give away Wildcats souvenirs and gear.

“The kids really seem to enjoy it,” he said. “Some of them will come up and give us hugs, which is pretty cool. The school always gives us more to give away than there are rooms to visit, so kids are able to get a lot of cool stuff. It’s really an awesome experience.”

Kathy Mabe, president of Allstate’s west regions’ and a member of the 2012 Good Works Team voting panel, said this year’s nominees have gone above and beyond years past.

“The nominees have some of the most impressive community service resumes in the program’s 21-year history,” she said. “These young men continue to raise the bar for the impact that student athletes can have on others, and are an inspiration to Allstate, our agents, and our employees.”

Of the 117 nominees for the award, a selection panel will choose two 11-player Good Works Teams to be announced in September. The two teams will be divided into Division IA, and the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III, and NAIA. Sports information directors nominate student athletes across the nation on behalf of their schools.

Molly O’Mara, associate director of communication services for University of Arizona athletics, said Fischer is representative of what every student-athlete should be.

“From the field, to the classroom, to the community, he has such a great impact,” she said. “He is great with people, with media, with professors, with kids. It’s encouraging to see, and he is such a great example for his teammates.”

Fischer said making the final selection would be a unique experience, but added that his desire to give back to the community isn’t merely to win an award.

“I’m not competing with others just to see who can go out and do the most community service,” he said. “I grew up here, and I love doing what I can to give back to the place I grew up. The kids and our community come first. If everyone could give back, it would make our community that much better.”

Past recipients of the Allstate Good Works Team include Super Bowl champion quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning.

Fischer is expected to return to the field this year after suffering a spring ball knee injury in 2011. In 2010, Fischer finished the season with 58 tackles, two sacks, and a fumble recovery in 13 games.

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