University of St. Thomas fifth-year senior Michael Valesano of Brainerd is among 22 players in all of college football named to the 2012 Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.
The award, co-sponsored by the American Football Coaches Association, recognizes exceptional community and campus service. There were 117 national nominees.
Valesano is one of six Division III players on the 11-player team that consists of Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, III and NAIA schools.
The 22 honorees will be invited to New Orleans to take part in a youth clinic and be recognized at the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl.
“Michael Valesano displays unbelievable character and discipline, plus an impressive balance in his life,” UST coach Glenn Caruso said in a news release. “Michael is the consummate team player, who is completely selfless and extremely diligent. He works hard for everything he gets on the field. He’s more about the ‘We’ than the ‘Me.’
“He is also a very appreciating young man who firmly believes in earning his way, both on and off the field. He has a genuine desire to help people and give back, in the community and on campus.”
The Brainerd native is majoring in operations management and has contributed at linebacker throughout his Tommies career. He’s coming off a medical hardship season in 2011 due to an early season injury.
He was named the MIAC Player of the Week and to D3Football.com’s Team of the Week Sept. 3 after his fumble recovery and 11 tackles helped the No. 3-ranked Tommies edge UW-Eau Claire, 27-24.
In his career, Valesano has 49 solo tackles, 32 assisted stops, eight tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions (one returned 56 yards for a touchdown) and one fumble recovery.
Super Bowl champion quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning were members of the 2002 and 1997 Good Works Teams, respectively.