Allstate is pledging $1 million to honor the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, and players who made the team like Elijah McAllister, as well as their non-profits of choice, for their remarkable commitment to community service.
This act, which is possible due to the new NCAA NIL decision, gives Allstate an opportunity to financially empower these athletes who are leaders in their communities, opening the door to new possibilities for the players.
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Elijah McAllister is a 6-6, 261 lbs edge rusher from Vanderbilt University.
Elijah McAllister Q&A:
I-80 Sports Blog: 1.What is the conversation you have after you light up an offensive player or blocker? What’s the best smack talk you’ve ever heard or said?
I do smack talk a bit. I probably shouldn’t repeat it here, but my main focus when I’m talking is really self-talk. It’s focused to giving energy back to my teammates. Gassing them up and getting them excited as well as myself is fun just having a blast. After a play I’m not really worried about what to say to the opponent, but rather how excited my teammates are because we worked hard to make these plays and they should be celebrated.
2. The SEC is the best conference in the country – what was your “welcome to the SEC” moment? A big hit? The crowd? What was it?
I guess I’d say my welcome to the SEC moment would be the first game of my career. I was able to line up against Georgia and faced two first round tackles in Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson. It was a great experience to see how I stacked up against first round guys and I feel like I held my own.
3. Who was your favorite NFL player growing up? Who in your opinion is the best defensive end/edge of all-time?
My favorite NFL player growing up I’d have to say would be Ray Lewis. I loved the passion he played with, his leadership skills and the relationships he had with his teammates. In my opinion the best edge of all time is without a doubt LT (Lawrence Taylor). When you look at the longevity, consistency and productivity of his career as well as the impact he had on how the edge rusher is played today, it has to be him.
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4. Describe your mindset before a 3rd down and long, definite passing situation, late in the fourth quarter and you are down one score and NEED to get the ball back?
My mindset is to simply just trust my training. Not try to do anything crazy, just have a rush plan that I have been setting up all game and put all the hours of work and training to performance.
5. What does it mean to you to be named to the Allstate Good Works Team?
Being named to the team is an honor and a blessing. I am thankful to be able to represent myself, my family and everything that I am affiliated with in a positive way. I am thankful to be named this team and to share the same honor with many impactful men, past and present. It was such a surprise just to be nominated, so to be named to the team and join so many other great men from the last 30 years really is an honor.
Allstate AFCA Good Works Team member is a title I don’t take lightly. You obviously don’t volunteer your time for awards or NIL deals, but to be recognized and to have your cause publicized as a result is an opportunity to showcase what so many others are doing in our community to bring about positive change.
6. What is your favorite part about working in the community? What projects have you started or are working with?
My favorite part about working in the community is just helping people and putting a smile on their faces. I’m a big believer in nobody getting anywhere by themselves. Even if I have an hour or less of free time, I’d much rather spend it helping someone.
Whether that’s helping them push to their goal, be happy or really anything for that matter. I’m involved in various organizations, but the main one I’d say is Turners Heroes, which is a pediatric cancer research non-profit started in honor of former Vandy football player Turner Cockrell.
We work to support patients in children’s hospitals through superhero-themed cape designing events typically hosted by student athletes. Turner’s Heroes funds pediatric cancer research through innovative and critical Discovery Grants at the children’s hospital at Vanderbilt as well as endowment funds.
7. Once your playing career is over, how will you use the skills you learned from volunteering in the professional world? What do you want to be when you “grow up?”
I see myself just continuing to use the things I’ve learned in athletics and off the field as well to get my doctorate in psychology, become an NFL GM, then ultimately go back and spread knowledge to students of various age groups, particularly high school, in hopes of making the world a better place. All of these things after my playing career of course.
8. What feels more amazing – a sack, or a defensive TUD? Is a defensive TUD like finding $20 in the laundry?
Honestly, a sack feels more amazing than a touchdown because sacks are truly hard to come by and you work so hard every single day to get them. It’s easy to sometimes fall into an interception or if I’m recovering a fumble having a clear path to the end zone, but with a sack there’s always somebody trying to stop you and a quarterback in motion.