Hicks A Semifinalist For Jason Witten Collegiate Man Of The Year
DALLAS – Elijah Hicks added to a long list of prestigious honors Wednesday when he was named a semifinalist for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year for his demonstrated record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field. Hicks is a semifinalist for the award for the second consecutive season.
Hicks founded his non-nonprofit organization Intercept Poverty Foundation two years ago and then raised nearly $70,000 to help families feed their school-aged children during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through his foundation, he has also recently begun a program that awards emergency grants to Cal students in need of financial assistance.
Three finalists will be named for the award on Wednesday, December 15. The winner will be announced at the award ceremony in Frisco, Texas, on February 17, 2022.
The award, presented by Albertsons and Tom Thumb, is the first college football honor to focus primarily on a player's leadership, both on and off the field. Leadership is a term synonymous with Jason Witten, who, in addition to becoming one of the best tight ends in the history of the sport, served as one of football's most prominent role models during his 16-year pro career. In addition to winning the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award in 2012, Witten also received the Bart Starr Award, Pro Football Weekly's Humanitarian of the Year Award, Home Depot NFL Neighborhood MVP and the Bob Lilly Award, among many others. All of those honors have recognized his work in the community, achievements on the field and dedication to his teammates and family.
The winner of the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year will also receive a $10,000 contribution in his name to his school's athletic scholarship fund. The contribution will be made by Jason Witten's SCORE Foundation, the official charity of Jason and his wife Michelle. The SCORE Foundation, founded in 2007, has positively impacted tens of thousands of children and families in Texas and Tennessee over the last 14 years. The foundation operates its nationally-recognized SCOREkeepers program, which places trained male mentors on staff to work with children at family violence shelters, at nine shelters in the two states.
Below are additional notes on Hicks with his extended bio available by clicking on his name.
Elijah Hicks, S, 5-11, 200, Sr., 5th Season At Cal, Long Beach, CA (La Mirada HS/St. John Bosco HS)
— 2021 Semifinalist for the prestigious William V. Campbell Trophy, Wuerffel Trophy and Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year known respectively as the "Academic Heisman", "College Football's Premier Award For Community Service"and and one of the nation's top awards based on leadership
— Also a nominee for the 2021 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award, as well as a Preseason All-Pac-12 Third Team (Athlon) and Honorable Mention (Pac-12 Media) selection, a member of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Big Board and a Player To Watch (Athlon)
— Has started each of the first nine games and been a game captain three times (Nevada, Oregon, Oregon State) as a 2021 senior
— Leads the 2021 team and is tied for second in the Pac-12 in forced fumbles (3, #T13 NCAA) and forced fumbles per game (0.33, #T14 NCAA), while he also co-leads the squad with three interceptions and is second with 50 tackles while adding 5.5 tackles for loss (-13 yards), 1.0 sack (-8 yards) and two pass breakups
— Has played in all 51 games possible with 43 starts over the last four-plus seasons since his arrival in January of 2017 and is Cal's active career leader with 191 tackles and five forced fumbles (Luc Bequette has six collegiate and four at Cal), while adding 15.0 tackles for loss (-41 yards), 3.0 sacks (-15 yards), five interceptions that he has returned for a combined 66 yards and one touchdown, and 14 pass breakups
— A member of the AFCA All-State Good Works Team® as a 2020 junior
— Graduated from Cal in December of 2020 with a bachelor's degree in American studies, picked up a graduate certificate in the school's entrepreneurship program in May of 2021 and is on track to earn another graduate certificate in business administration this December