Watching Bobby Erskine on defense for the Aggies, one gets a feel for his commitment to stopping the run, keeping his teammates in the game and encouraging those around him.
It’s not a secret — even from far up in the stands — that UC Davis’ defensive end (sometimes linebacker) is a force to be reckoned with.
But off the field, Erskine’s passion often is overlooked.
The English major from San Diego has volunteered in Davis elementary school reading programs. He visited Haiti last summer as part of the earthquake relief effort. Erskine provided emotional support for victims when he wasn’t clearing debris.
A member of Athletes in Action, Erksine visits local parishes to cook and serve meals to the homeless.
From Aggie head coach Bob Biggs to his current teammates and old high school mentor Jerry Ralph, Erskine has drawn praise for his efforts on and off the field.
Now, the soon-to-be UCD junior has been nominated for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. According to many, the honor “is one of the most prestigious off-the-field recognitions in college football.”
“Erskine boasts an impressive résumé of community-service accomplishments,” explains Caitlin Morse of Allstate.
Though injured for part of 2010, Erksine still managed 35 tackles in eight games. He also recovered a fumble. In 2009, a healthy Erskine played in all 11 games and recorded double-digit tackles and a sack. In 2008, he earned the George Belenis Award as outstanding redshirt of the year.
At St. Augustine High, he was all-San Diego Section as a senior, was the school’s defensive player of the year and was named to the all-CIF Academic squad.
Erskine’s name can now be mentioned in the same breath with past Good Works Team nominees like Peyton and Eli Manning, ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer and 2011 NFL first-round draft pick Christian Ponder.
From 132 nominees — a record number of honorees — two, 11-player Good Works Teams will be selected and announced in September. One will be for the Football Bowl Subdivision (Div. I-A) and the other for the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, Divisions II, III and NAIA.
In its fourth year as sponsor, Allstate has assembled a prominent selection panel, including Hall of Fame coach and ESPN personality Lou Holtz, who returns as program ambassador.
“More often than not, college football players are remembered for the great things they do on the playing field,” Morse continues. “(They) are rarely distinguished for their achievements away from the game.
“As protectors of the integrity of the sport, Allstate and the AFCA are passionate about sharing the community-service contributions of these young men … contributions that may otherwise go unrecognized.”
Erskine’s parents are Molly and Jim. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound standout is one of seven siblings. He told UCD officials that his proudest personal accomplishment “(is) earning a scholarship to play D-I football.”
Citing fallen combat hero and ex-NFL player Pat Tillman as his sports role model, Erskine says his dad is his non-sports hero.