By Megan Myers
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
On Saturdays, Texas Tech's Brian Duncan can be seen on the football field as one of the Red Raiders' top defenders.
Off the field, Duncan is widely known in Lubbock for his community service projects. He has visited area hospitals, schools and organizations, is an active member at Trinity church, participates in Red Raider Play Day, and is vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
"I love to smile and when I am able to give back and make people smile, make their day better, it's a great feeling," he said. "I just love giving back, it's my personality and it excites me."
One of Duncan's most gratifying projects was coaching the fourth grade basketball team at Tubbs Elementary. The players gained a better attitude, their grades and school participation improved.
"It means a lot because kids need role models these days," the junior linebacker said. "It's great to show them that someone does care about what they say and do and I'm just grateful to be a part of that."
Duncan's community service has been recognized outside of West Texas. In 2008, the Baton Rouge, La., native was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Sullivan Award which is presented to the nation's top amateur athletes. The award factors in community and leadership involvement.
"Brian is a leader and a guy who you can count on as a coach and as a teammate," Texas Tech defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeill said. "Besides being a really good football player those attributes - leading and being able to be counted on - are neat qualities of Brian."
Duncan credits his father, Mitchell, for teaching him about time management - a crucial skill for someone who balances football, class work and volunteering.
"Coach Leach made a comment about me trying to save the world," Duncan said. It was funny because he said 'How about you stop trying to save the world and get your head in the game?' It's not bad at all. I am able to manage my time for when I need to study and go to class and most definitely when I am supposed to be at football."
As a member of the Trinity Church Praise team, Duncan sang in the Christmas production of "Christmas Shoes." He played The Grinch - an ironic bit of casting for someone with a perpetual smile.
"It was a cool experience because it was my first Broadway show at church," he said. "The cast was great and it was fun to be on stage and act and sing at the same time. A lot of my teammates came."
Duncan's faith helps fuel his community service and passion for football. He hopes to carry both into an NFL career.
"If all this football stuff and all this singing fail, I still have my love for Christ," Duncan said. "Some days I ask myself what have I gotten myself into. In the end, it all proves out that my love for Christ and the love for this football game is what pushes me over the edge.
"I will be pretty excited if I get a chance to do it past college. My dreams and aspirations are to go to the NFL, whatever teams come and whatever opportunity the Lord gives me."
Tech defensive end Ra'Jon Henley enjoys being around Duncan because his teammate has a good heart.
"I think it's really good what he does for the community. A lot of football players do community service but not as much as he does," Henley said. "What he does for the community is great. The kids love him. Hopefully we can get more people out there."
Lubbock is 12 hours from Duncan's home in Louisiana. When he first arrived on campus, he thought he might become homesick. But he quickly felt at ease because the community welcomed him and he felt at home at Tech
"It's tough being far from home but the people here at Texas Tech made it fun," he said. "The people I go to church with allow me to come to their house and treat me as their own son. I know it's hard for my parents because they live so far away.
"My biggest fans are my dad and mom and they will drive that 12 hour drive to get to a game. It's pretty tough but it's working for the best."