If you’ve paid attention at all this offseason, or oddly-elongated offseason we can call it, you would know that California Golden Bears safety Elijah Hicks has continually made a difference for his community.
Whether it was his early charge in helping lower-income families with meals during the height of the coronavirus pandemic or his own non-profit titled Intercept Poverty, Hicks has been a difference-maker in the community for his entire Cal career.
Now the senior safety is being recognized nationally for his efforts.
Hicks was named to the 2020 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, announced by Allstate and the American Football Coaches Association.
“I’m thankful for this award, but like I’ve always said giving back is just something we do in Long Beach,” Hicks said. “We don’t do it for awards or recognition, we do it because there are real issues that need to be fixed. Long Beach is full of people with crazy talents, but we don’t always hear about them because some people may not have a good situation or food on the table, which makes it hard for individuals to stay focused and work hard. I was fortunate enough to have people step in and help me during my difficult times, so I just try to pay it forward. We all should do that if we can.”
There were 149 total student-athletes nominated for the Good Works Team, Allstate’s 29th annual edition. Of those, the AFCA and Allstate named just 22 finalists for the team, 11 from the FBS and 11 from a combination of FCS, Divisions II and II as well as the NAIA.
“Elijah is a tremendous representative of our football program and university,” Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said. “He has a passion for giving back and helping those who are less fortunate. Elijah has made a huge difference by doing so, and I truly believe he is just getting started. He is very deserving of this honor, and it’s very satisfying that his good works are being recognized with a spot on this prestigious team.”
Hicks is now the fifth Cal Bear to earn a spot on the Good Works Team, joining Patrick Laird in 2018, Marcel Dancy in 2019, Nick Forbes in 2013 and Jeffrey Coprich in 2014.
Cal’s website lists the accomplishments to date for Hicks, which are in a word: impressive.
– Created his own non-profit Intercept Poverty Foundation with the primary focus of helping fight poverty especially for low-income students constrained by their finances with a website (interceptpovertyfoundation.com) that among other features includes statistics on the relationship between education and poverty rates
– Collaborated via his foundation with No Kid Hungry to raise over $60,000 in a fundraiser to financially help families affected by COVID-19 feed their children
– Currently working with Scholarship America on a proposal for a fundraiser to provide an emergency relief fund for Cal students in need of financial assistance
– Has been a consistent and regular volunteer in the food pantry at the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center, working restocking shifts once or twice a week throughout the 2019 football season
– Volunteered for a UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center event in March of 2020 in which the organization prepared grocery bags to give away to UC Berkeley staff members in need due to COVID-19 and brought along several of his Cal football teammates to help
– Served as a guest speaker in June of 2020 at a Pac-12 Networks virtual webinar talking about his volunteer work with his Intercept Poverty Foundation and the food pantry at the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center
– Earned Preseason All-California Region (SportsPac12), Second-Team Preseason All-Pac-12 (Athlon) and Third-Team Preseason All-Pac-12 (Phil Steele) recognition as a 2020 senior
– Has played in all 38 games possible with 30 starts and posted career totals of 113 tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss (-25 yards), 2.0 sacks (-7 yards), one interception that he returned 34 yards for a touchdown at Colorado as a 2018 sophomore, 10 pass breakups, 11 passes defended and two forced fumbles over the last three seasons since his arrival in January of 2017
– Contributed career highs of 44 tackles, 2.0 sacks (-7 yards), five pass breakups and five passes defended while making a career-high 12 starts and playing in a career-high-tying 13 contests as a 2019 junior
– Recorded career bests of 5.0 tackles for loss and -14 tackle for loss yards as well as his lone career interception in a career-high-tying 13 contests as a 2018 sophomore, while his two fumble recoveries as a 2017 freshman are a career high as are his 2.0 sacks and -7 sack yards and four pass breakups
Fans can vote for Hicks as the 2020 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team captain once a day from now until November 22. Get out there and vote!
This kid is special. Thank you, Elijah!