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Kyle Kilgore ’19 Named to 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

It’s the sixth consecutive year—and twelfth time overall—that a Bethel player has been named to the prestigious national squad. That’s a feat that’s simply unheard of.

By Monique Kleinhuizen ’08, GS’16, new media strategist; and Tim Beasley, assistant athletic director for strategic communications and marketing

September 14, 2018 | 10 a.m.

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Kyle Kilgore ’19 is a leader on and off the field, and this year he’s being recognized among some of the nation’s most elite student-athletes.

As a senior in high school, Kyle Kilgore ’19 chose to forego a graduation party and instead asked family and friends to donate to the Randy Shaver Tackle Cancer Foundation. He raised $2,500 and was named the top fundraiser for that year’s MFCA (Minnesota Football Coaches Association) All-Star Game, for which the foundation was a beneficiary.

Kilgore has always been a leader on and off the football field, and this year he’s been chosen from among 169 nominees as part of the Allstate Insurance Company and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. He’s one of 22 college football players to receive the award, which celebrates student-athletes for their extraordinary commitment to making a lasting impact in their communities. This makes a remarkable six consecutive years—12 total—that the Royals have been represented among this esteemed group, something that’s unheard of, especially among schools of Bethel’s size.

"Kyle was a top recruit for us coming out of high school because of his leadership as well as his athletic gifts," said Royals Football Head Coach Steve Johnson. "He became an excellent player and defensive leader almost immediately.” As a defensive end for the Royals, Kilgore is a consistent presence athletically and was named both All-Conference and All-Region in 2017. He also has extensive community service and volunteer experience dating back to his days at East Ridge High School in Woodbury, Minnesota. As a junior at East Ridge, Kilgore lettered in Key Club, which required a minimum of 40 hours of community service. One of his major community service projects was accompanying his older brother on a Fellowship of Christian Athletes trip to Jamaica, where they built houses in the rural and rugged mountains.

While at Bethel, Kyle's volunteer work has continued to be extensive and impactful. He has partnered with the Ober Center in the Frogtown community of St. Paul, the Dorothy Day Center, Challenge New Orleans and Challenge Kansas City, Cottage Grove Middle School Raw Club Empathy Retreat, and Minnesota Vikings FCA camps. He even did the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics last March. 

Kilgore spent his 2018 Spring Break on a mission trip to Costa Rica, working with Students International in Desamparados, providing children living in poverty with after-school activities such as soccer clinics, pingpong tournaments, hikes and gardening. With Minneapolis hosting the 2018 Super Bowl, Kilgore had the unique opportunity to partner with the Matthew Foundation Super Fest, an annual pre-Super Bowl football clinic for kids who have intellectual or physical disabilities. As a social studies education major, Kilgore has also maintained a 3.24 GPA.          

“He has received many academic and athletic awards,” Johnson adds. “However, the greater impact, in my estimation, is his soft heart and competitive nature. This gift has helped produce a culture of toughness mixed with authentic affection for teammates and coaches. He has the unique quality of raising the standards of those around him as well. He became the standard for our football team in the classroom, the weight room, the hallway, and the field." 

The voting panel for this year’s Good Works Team included Tim Tebow, who will be participating for the third year in a row; Dave Prendergast, president of Allstate’s eastern territory; former Good Works Team members Zaid Abdul-Aleem (Duke, 1994 team), Matt Stinchcomb (Georgia, 1997 and 1998 teams), Brian Brenberg (St. Thomas, 2001 team), Mike Proman (Amherst, 2002 team), and Wes Counts (Middle Tennessee State, 1999 team); Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN; Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star; Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY; 2018 AFCA President and Georgetown College Football Head Coach Bill Cronin; and 2001 AFCA President and Virginia Union University Athletic Director Joe Taylor.

The 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team will be invited to New Orleans to participate in a special community service project ahead of the 2019 Allstate Sugar Bowl, where the entire team will also be recognized on the field during a halftime presentation.

Vote for Kyle

Each year, a captain is selected from among the Good Works Team. Fans are encouraged to vote for the 2018 captain through November 23, 2018, and the winner will be honored at The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN in December. Throughout the season, fans can follow along and join in on the conversation using #GoodWorksTeam on social media.

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