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Feb, 2022

Elijah Hicks Named 12th Pop Warner College Football Award Winner

Cal captain makes significant impact on and off the field, serves as role model and inspiration for young student-athletes.

LANGHORNE, PA (February 1, 2022) – Pop Warner Little Scholars, the nation’s longest-serving and most prestigious youth football organization, today announced that California six-time game captain Elijah Hicks, a third team All-American, first team All-Pac-12 safety and active participant in fighting hunger and poverty in the community, has been named the 12th Pop Warner National College Football Award winner for embodying the ideals of a student-athlete.

Established in 2010, the Pop Warner College Football Award recognizes a senior who shows exceptional leadership on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

On the field, Hicks built an impressive resume over the course of five seasons. He totaled 213 tackles with 14.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, five interceptions and six forced fumbles while playing in all 54 games possible with 46 starts. In his senior season, Hicks co-led the Pac-12 with four forced fumbles, while adding 72 tackles and three interceptions, all career highs.

Hicks is participating in the East-West Shrine Bowl on February 3, the longest running college all-star football game in the nation. He will be presented the Pop Warner College Football Player of the Year Award at a team ceremony February 2.

Off the field, Hicks’ resume becomes even more impressive. He earned an undergraduate degree in American Studies before adding two graduate certificates in entrepreneurship and business administration. His success in the classroom solidified him as a semifinalist for the prestigious Campbell Trophy, also known as the Academic Heisman.

Outside the classroom, Hicks dedicated himself to making a meaningful impact in his community. Inspired by his own personal story, he established a non-profit, Intercept Poverty Foundation, aimed at combating poverty on college campuses by helping low income students overcome financial roadblocks.

Through his non-profit, Hicks has led a number of initiatives, including a partnership with No Kid Hungry that raised nearly $70,000 to feed children of families adversely affected by COVID-19 and an emergency grant program with Scholarship America that awards relief funds to Cal students in need of financial aid. Additionally, Hicks has spent many hours volunteering at the UC Berkeley Food Pantry in the school's Basic Needs Center.

Hicks’ dedication in the classroom and impact in the community has earned him a number of accolades including Cal's Jonathan and Judy Hoff Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year, AFCA All-State Good Works Team® member, Wuerffel Trophy semifinalist and two-time Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award semifinalist.
“Elijah’s accomplishments on the field are enough for celebration, but his commitment to his studies, his team and his community make him a true embodiment of Pop Warner and a role model for the next generation of young student-athletes,” said Jon Butler, executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “Each year we are impressed by the nominations for this award and the stories about college football players whose exploits on the field are well known but who are also working diligently in the classroom and study hall to get great grades while giving back to others in the community. The balance exhibited on and off the field by our finalists this year is beyond impressive. Elijah is the definition of difference maker and we are honored to have him among our incredible list of Pop Warner College Football Award winners.”

"Elijah Hicks is very deserving of the Pop Warner College Football Award,” said Cal coach Justin Wilcox. “He takes a great deal of pride in everything he is involved with including football, academics and his work in the community. It has been a pleasure to coach and get to know Elijah over the past five years. He is a tremendous representative of our university and what college football is all about.”

Last year’s winner was former Notre Dame and current New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Ian Book.

The other 2021 finalists were:

  • Sean Clifford, Penn State quarterback
  • James Empey, BYU center
  • Pat Fields, Oklahoma safety
  • Joshua Paschal, Kentucky defensive end
  • Shea Pitts, UCLA defensive back

About Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.

Founded in 1929 and headquartered in Langhorne, PA, Pop Warner Little Scholars is the nation’s oldest youth football, cheerleading and dance organization and the only youth sports organization that emphasizes academics as a prerequisite for participation. Pop Warner participants enjoy the opportunity to learn and compete in their sports in an atmosphere that emphasizes fun, safety, academics and character. For more information on Pop Warner and its programs visit or follow Pop Warner on Twitter @Pop_Warner, Facebook @PopWarnerLittleScholars, Instagram @popwarnerlittlescholars and Snap @popwarner1929.

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Mid Florida Pop Warner, P.O. Box 555
Windermere, Florida 34786

Email: [email protected]


Mid Florida Pop Warner, P.O. Box 555
Windermere, Florida 34786

Email: [email protected]
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