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Cal Football

Elijah HIcks on Allstate AFCA Good Works Team

September 23, 2020
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The Pac-12 has not determined if it will play football this fall -- that vote is due Thursday -- but already Cal has a national All-Star.

And it is not one of those preseason projections that rarely are relevant at season’s end. This one will be good for the next 12 months. Safety Elijah HIcks, who is, in fact, on some of those preseason projections, on Wednesday was named to the Allstate-American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.

From an initial field of 149 nominees, Hicks was one of 22 players selected to the team, which includes 11 from the FBS division and 11 from the FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA teams combined. 

Hicks, a three-year starter for the Bears has an impressive list of accomplishments on the field, but they pale in comparison to what he has done off of it. It is simply mind-boggling. In the news release heralding his announcement, the Cal PR department listed no fewer than eight organizations that he is involved with. All of them are aimed at helping lower-income or disadvantaged communities.

Two of the most recent are No Kids Hungry and Intercept Poverty.

“I got involved with No Kids Hungry because when this pandemic started I was talking to my dad trying to figure out ways I could help people,” Hicks said in a Zoom call with the Bay Area media; “I have ten siblings, quite a few of them are still in elementary school and they are relying on free or reduced lunch and because of the pandemic and everything shutting down they were no longer able to get those things.

“So I wanted to create something to help low-income families with the help of (former Cal teammate) Ashtyn Davis. He helped me found No Kids Hungry. And I kind of contacted him and we were going back and forth with my vision and how we wanted to help people. And it aligned. We had some fine people over there the fundraiser platform and we hit the ground running.”

No KIds Hungry has raised $60,000 for its cause.

“As far as Intercept Poverty is concerned the mission is to help college students overcome financial roadblocks, so they could focus on school rather than their financial needs or where they are going to get their next meal from,” Hicks said. “Currently, I am in the process of working with Scholarship America to set up an emergency fund.”

Hicks who is carrying an academic load of 13 units and working out daily, says his philanthropic efforts consume a lot of time on their own. And despite all he has done, he still considers himself a rookie.

“It’s not just like you know how to do these things. You have to learn and understand the terminology that these professionals use,” he said. “I am talking to people at No Kids Hungry and I am having to have these conversations with them through Zoom and emails and I am learning a lot and there’s a lot of trial and error through this because I haven’t done a lot of this before.”

Well-respected in the lockerroom, Hicks has been able to enlist a lot of his teammates in his efforts. “I like to drag my guys along to help me,” he said. “We got closer at Cal in the locker room. I pretty much know I am going to get a yes when I ask them. That’s the kind of people they are.”

Speaking of ‘Yes”, Hicks hopes that’s the word he hears Thursday when the Pac-12 campus leaders vote on whether to play this fall. 

“Obviously when it’s safe to do so. I want to play,” he said. “Rapid testing that is readily available we probably should be seeing by the end of September. Then we can start practicing and maybe play some football when it’s safe. That’s the most important thing. I am more comfortable that we have rapid testing and those things available. But right now we’re just following the public health officials and what they say.”

He is in constant touch with Camryn Bynum, another three-year veteran of the secondary who earlier this month said he was opting out of the season to enter the NFL draft. That was before the possibility of football in the fall emerged.

Many observers felt Bynum might change his mind. Hicks said he is unaware of Bynum’s intentions.

“As far as Cam goes there is so much unknown,” Hicks said. “ We talk almost every day about how we’re doing, how we’re working out, his mental health and everything going through this pandemic but I don’t know what his mind is like.”

This is the 29th year of the Good Works team which has been sponsored by Allstate since 2008. HIcks is the fifth Cal player to earn a spot on the Goodworks Team and the third in as many years. Patrick Laird made it in 2008 and Marcel Dancy last year. Nick Forbes and Jeffrey Coprich are Cal's other two selections in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014.


Fans can vote for the 2020 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team captain once a day now through Nov. 22 by visiting ESPN.com/AllState. Throughout the 2020 season, fans can join the conversation using #GoodWorksTeam on their social media channels to learn more about these players and their stories.

 
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