Chapter Update: Dramatic comeback makes Illinois bowl eligible and 10 teams post Week 11 victories


With a flair for the dramatic, Illinois became bowl eligible for the first time since 2014 with an improbable come-from-behind victory at Michigan State.

The Illini trailed 28-3 in the second quarter and 31-10 entering the fourth quarter.  In the end, Quarterback Brandon Peters threw a 5-yard touchdown to Daniel Barker with five seconds remaining to complete the rally and seal the victory.

On the final drive, Illinois converted a fourth-and-17 and drew a fourth-down pass interference call in the end zone before scoring. Peters finished with 369 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe, a transfer from USC, had four receptions for 178 yards and two touchdowns. The junior’s 178 yards is the most receiving yards by an opponent at Spartan Stadium since at least 2000 and the most by an Illinois player ever in the 47-game series history against Michigan State.

The Illini, who forced four turnovers to help fuel the comeback, have won four straight.

Baylor: The Bears stayed undefeated thanks to a triple overtime victory at TCU. The opportunity to win the game in overtime came courtesy of redshirt freshman kicker John Mayers. His previous long field goal was 38 yards. His career-best 51-yard kick with 36 seconds remaining in regulation pulled the Bears level at 9-9. Charlie Brewer’s 4-yard TD pass to Denzel Mims in the third OT was the game winner. Baylor is 9-0 for the second time in program history after opening the 2013 season with nine victories in a row.

Penn: The Quakers’ eventual game winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter came on a trick play that started in the hands of the backup quarterback who threw back to a transfer quarterback/returner/receiver who then uncorked an 80-yard touchdown pass to a converted defensive back who’d never caught a touchdown before. The long distance catch-and-run by Eric Markes from Owen Goldsberry gave Penn a 21-14 lead. Cornell scored a touchdown to cap a 16-play, 94-yard drive with 50 seconds remaining to pull to within a point. The Big Red opted to go for the win with a 2-point conversion, but Penn freshman DB Kendren Smith knocked down the pass to preserve the victory.

Notre Dame: Senior quarterback Ian Book threw four touchdown passes and rushed for 149 yards in the win over Duke to become the first player in Notre Dame history to rush for more than 100 yards in a game and throw four touchdown passes. Notre Dame Chapter Vice President and linebacker Drew White led the Irish with seven total tackles including a sack and a tackle for a loss.

Learn more about Notre Dame Chapter Vice President and tight end Brock Wright in our Beyond The Trophy series

Davidson: On a day when the Wildcats rushing attack rolled up more than 450 yards and amassed a 33-point second quarter, this victory was also one for the program record books. Junior running back Wesley Dugger took over as the all-time leading rusher in school history as part of his 118-yard effort in the win over Butler. Dugger moved past John Leverett’s mark of 3,165 yards posted in 2004 to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week. Davidson Chapter President and linebacker George Hatalowich had six tackles for a defense that limited Butler to one touchdown and only 257 total yards.

Western Michigan: Senior quarterback Jon Wassink had a career-high 131 rushing yards in the victory over Ball State. Wassink became the first WMU quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards since Paul Jorgenson had 128 against Northern Illinois in 1973. The victory made the Broncos bowl eligible for the sixth consecutive season. WMU also completed its third undefeated season at home since 2000. 

Clemson: Running back Travis Etienne added three more touchdowns to his career resume in the victory over NC State to pass C.J. Spiller’s mark of 51 career touchdowns and take over as the all-time leader at Clemson with 54 career touchdowns. His 50 career rushing touchdowns is tied for second most in ACC history. Sophomore quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 276 yards and three touchdowns. It was the fifth consecutive game Lawrence threw at least three touchdowns passes to become the first quarterback in school history to pass for three scores in five straight games.

Florida State: The Seminoles scored 14 unanswered points in a 45-second span inside the final two minutes of the fourth quarter to pull away from Boston College. D.J. Matthews’ 60-yard touchdown pass from James Blackman with 1:48 to play made it 31-24 FSU. Jordan Travis made it a two-score game with a 66-yard gallop only 45 seconds later to extend the lead to 38-24. Blackman finished with 369 passing yards and wide receiver Terry Tamorrion had seven catches for 156 yards and a touchdown.

Colgate: Quarterback Grant Breneman rushed for a career-high 105 yards and added 195 yards through the air with a touchdown to help the Raiders notch their first home victory of the season with a win over Fordham. Colgate’s defense limited the visiting Rams to only 33 rushing yards and 208 total yards. The Raiders’ defense also added five tackles for a loss and three sacks.

Eastern Illinois: The Panthers used a furious second-half comeback that included a third-quarter successful onside kick to rally past Tennessee State for their first win of the season. EIU outscored TSU 28-3 in the second half after falling behind 35-21 at intermission. Darshon McCullough led a pair of Panthers running backs with 155 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown.

Chapter Update: Last-second field goal propels Penn to come-from-behind victory and nine teams notch Week 10 wins


On a milestone day, where Penn played the 1,400th game in program history, the Quakers first Ivy League victory of the season came in dramatic fashion at Franklin Field.

Sophomore kicker Daniel Karrash made his first collegiate field goal attempt a memorable one, as the Philadelphia native drilled a 22-yard kick with two seconds remaining to vault the Quakers past Brown.

Junior linebacker Brian O’Neill gave Penn a 35-19 lead early in the third quarter with a 21-yard scoop and score on a fumble. After that, the Quakers’ offense sputtered and Brown scored 17 unanswered points to surge in front 36-35 with 4:10 to play.

Penn went on a 16-play, 74-yard victory march, including a fourth-and-7 conversion, to set up Karrash’s dramatic winning kick.

Notre Dame: Staring down the barrel of an upset by Virginia Tech at Notre Dame Stadium, the Fighting Irish’s struggling offense climbed off the deck in the dying minutes to rally for a one-point victory over the Hokies. Notre Dame, held scoreless in the second half up to this point, manufactured an 18-play, 87-yard drive in the final 3:22 to win it. Quarterback Ian Book capped the march with a seven-yard touchdown run with 29 seconds to play. Notre Dame Chapter President and linebacker Drew White led the Irish defense with eight tackles.

Marist: Running back Hunter Cobb had another big outing, as the Red Foxes won for the second consecutive week. The redshirt freshman accounted for 148 of Marist’s 166 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns. In leading the Red Foxes to back-to-back victories, Cobb has rushed for 324 yards and scored five times.

Clemson: Running back Travis Etienne rushed for a career 212 yards and the Tigers extended their nation best win streak to 24 games. Clemson scored 59 points in the victory to mark the fourth game in a row the Tigers have scored 45 or more points – the first time in program history that has happened. They also tied the school record for consecutive home victories with 21. Etienne’s 212 yards came on the fewest carries in school history (9), he reached 1,000 yards in the fewest number of games (9) to tie the school record and the senior also broke the school record for career rushing touchdowns with an 86-yard gallop to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Baylor: Backstopped by a defense that surrendered the fewest rushing yards allowed by a Bears team in more than four years, Baylor edged West Virginia at home to stay undefeated. The 8-0 Bears moved up in the polls to No. 11. Baylor’s defense gave up only 14 rushing yards and fewer than 225 total yards to win its first game when scoring fewer than 20 points since 2006. 

Davidson: The Wildcats never trailed, but it was a grind for the home squad against a pesky one-win Valparaiso outfit. Wesley Dugger’s 1-yard touchdown run with two minutes to play snapped a 21-all deadlock. And Davidson Chapter co-founder and President George Hatalowich iced the six-point victory with an interception inside the final minute. The victory guarantees Davidson back-to-back seasons with at least six victories for the first time since 2006 and 2007. Hatalowich finished with a team-high nine tackles.

Princeton: The Tigers ran their winning streak to 17 straight, cracking the Top Five for winning streaks during the program’s 150-year history. Princeton’s defense limited Cornell to seven points, forced three turnovers and surrendered only one third-down conversion in 11 attempts.

Learn more about Penn State Chapter Vice President and long snapper Chris Stoll in our Beyond The Trophy series

Illinois: For the first time since 2011 when they started 6-0, the Fighting Illini are on a three-game winning streak. Senior linebacker Dele Harding became the second player in the nation in the last 20 years to have 12-plus tackles, 2.0-plus tackles for a loss, 1-plus interception and 1-plus touchdown in a single game in the victory over Rutgers. Tied 10-10 at intermission, Illinois scored all 28 points in the second half to pull away.

Colgate: Two big punt returns by Abu Daramy-Swaray covering 78 total yards and the Raiders’ defense forced a pair of key second-half fumbles that led to points for victory No. 16 in 17 games against Georgetown.

Chapter Update: Stony Brook springs upset on final play and nine teams record Week 9 wins


Stony Brook roared back from an 18-point halftime deficit capped by kicker Nick Courtney’s 22-yard field goal as time expired to upset FCS No. 5 ranked Villanova.

The road victory marks the second time in program history the Seawolves beat a team ranked in the Top 5. Stony Brook defeated No. 2 Richmond in 2016.

Stony Brook scored 10 points in the final 92 seconds after trailing 35-20 midway through the fourth quarter. The Seawolves scored the final 16 points.

Quarterback Tyquell Fields was instrumental in the rally, throwing for a career-best 321 yards with one passing TD and a pair of rushing touchdowns. His 1-yard plunge with 1:32 to play pulled the Seawolves to within 35-33 after a failed two-point conversion.

Stony Brook then used all its timeouts and forced the Wildcats to punt with 21 seconds to play. The Seawolves connected on  a 40-yard completion from Fields to Nick Anderson in the dying seconds to set up the game winning field goal by Courtney.

Lehigh: For the third straight game the Mountain Hawks’ fate came down to the final play of the game. And for the third straight time Lehigh walked away with a victory. Austin Henning’s 27-yard field goal as time expired lifted Leigh to 3-0 in the Patriot League with a home victory over Georgetown. The Hoyas rallied with a 72-yard touchdown bomb on fourth-and-4 and added a two-point conversion to tie it up at 24 with 1:23 to play. Lehigh answered by calmly traveling 59 yards in eight plays to set up the winning kick. Lehigh Chapter President and wide receiver Jorge Portorreal posted a team-high eight catches for 103 yards to help the Mountain Hawks win their fourth in a row.

Penn State: Nittany Lions quarterback and Penn State Chapter President Sean Clifford threw four touchdown passes, three of them to tight end Pat Freiermuth, as the undefeated Nittany Lions posted a 21-point soggy and rain swept victory at Michigan State. Penn State is 8-0 for the first time since 2008, is 5-0 in the Big Ten for the first time since 2011 and moved up to No. 5 in the rankings. The Nittany Lions defense produced three turnovers, limited the Spartans to seven points and broke up eight passes.

Marist: Redshirt freshman running back Hunter Cobb ran for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 17 carries and the Red Foxes defense forced a pair of turnovers to upset Davidson on the road in North Carolina. The Red Foxes defense limited the No. 3 FCS rushing offense in the country to 202 yards on 46 carries. Cobb’s 89-yard touchdown run in the third quarter is the fourth-longest touchdown run by a Red Fox in the program’s 27-year FCS history and the longest in the last seven years and earned him the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Western Michigan: Senior running back LeVante Bellamy posted a career-high four touchdowns and rushed for 178 yards to lead a Broncos ground game that rolled up nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns in their victory over Bowling Green. Junior linebacker Treshaun Hayward led a WMU defense that limited the Falcons to only 266 total yards with 13 tackles (10 solo), two sacks and three tackles for a loss. 

Learn more about Kent State Chapter President and wide receiver Antwan Dixon in our Beyond The Trophy series

Illinois: The Illini rushed for a season-high 242 yards and its defense forced a pair of turnovers in the rain-soaked victory at Purdue. Senior RB Dre Brown had a career-high 131 yards on the ground to help Illinois win its second in a row and get to 4-4 overall. Junior cornerback Tony Adams became the first Illini with interceptions in back-to-back Big Ten games since Vontae Davis and Kevin Mitchell both did it against Penn State and Wisconsin in 2007.

Clemson: Running back Travis Etienne and wide receiver Diondre Overton each scored three touchdowns as the undefeated Tigers extended their winning streak to 23 games with a 52-point victory over Boston College on homecoming at Memorial Stadium. Clemson’s defense held the No. 6 ranked rushing offense in the country to only 96 yards on the ground, scored a touchdown on a fumble return and had eight tackles for a loss.

Princeton: Led by a defense that produced three interceptions that led to 17 points, the Tigers rallied in the second half to overtake Harvard for win No. 16 in a row. Tigers quarterback Kevin Davidson threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns and linebacker Jeremiah Taylor had one of those interceptions and a team-high 13 tackles.

Florida State: Seminoles running back Cam Akers rushed for 144 yards, completed a couples pass for 26 yards out of the “wildcat” formation and tied a school record for rushing touchdowns in a game with four to lead FSU to a homecoming victory over Syracuse.

Chapter Update: Illinois springs the biggest upset of the college football season and nine teams post wins in Week 8


In the past 44 years, Illinois has played 20-plus point favorites 15 times at Memorial Stadium with zero upset victories.

That streak ended on Saturday against Wisconsin. The 31-point underdog Fighting Illini pulled off the biggest upset in college football this season by knocking No. 6 Wisconsin from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Junior kicker James McCourt drilled a 39-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Illini to its first win over a ranked opponent since 2011 and made the Badgers the highest ranked opponent to fall to Illinois since 2007.

McCourt’s kick capped a 10-point rally by the Fighting Illini after they fell behind 23-14 with just under 10 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.

Turnovers played a key role. The Illini converted three takeaways, two fumble recoveries and an interception, into 17 points. McCourt’s game winner came nine plays after Tony Adams’ interception with 2:32 to play.

Josh Imatorbhebhe, a transfer wide receiver from USC who entered the game with a Big Ten-leading five touchdown catches, hauled in a 29-yard TD toss from Brandon Peters with 5:53 remaining to start the comeback.

The Illini put up 24 points against a Wisconsin defense that had allowed only 29 points all season and was coming off back-to-back shutouts. A first-half 48-yard touchdown catch by Donny Navarro snapped a scoreless streak of 148 minutes of game time by the Badgers defense, dating back to September 28.

Lehigh: For the second straight game the Mountain Hawks won in dramatic fashion on the road, pushing their winning streak to three straight and improving to 2-0 in the Patriot League. Devon Bibbens’ four-yard touchdown from Addison Shoup lifted Lehigh past Fordham in overtime. The team appeared headed for a second overtime with an exchange of field goals, but a roughing the kicker call against the Rams gave Lehigh a second chance in the first OT and the Mountain Hawks took full advantage. Shoup’s touchdown pass was his only attempt of the game. He took over for Tyler Monaco after the senior was forced out with an injury in overtime. Zach Davis powered the Rams with 191 rushing yards on 34 carries and forced OT with a 40-yard scamper with 7:25 to play in regulation.

Learn more about Lehigh Chapter Vice President and Defensive Back Divine Buckrham in our Beyond The Trophy series

Baylor: The Bears trailed by 10 early in the third quarter and were still down three early in the fourth quarter before ripping off 21 unanswered points in a 4-minute span to bury Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The victory was only the second for Baylor at Boone Pickens Stadium and moved No. 14 ranked Baylor to 7-0. This was the third time Baylor rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit in the last four weeks. QB Charlie Brewer threw for 312 yards, JaMycal Hasty had 205 total yards rushing and receiving and the defense kicked in a fumble return for a touchdown by LB Terrel Bernard.

Davidson: Junior running back Wesley Dugger had a career day in Jacksonville, Florida that included setting a Wildcats program record. Dugger had a career-best five touchdown as part of a 193-yard outing in the victory over Jacksonville. Those five rushing scores moved Dugger into the No. 1 spot for Davidson career rushing touchdowns with 37. For becoming the Wildcats’ all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, Dugger earned the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week. Dugger also moved into third on the all-time school rushing list with 2,940 yards and counting. Davidson Chapter President George Hatalowich finished with five tackles including one tackle for a loss as part of a defense that limited the Dolphins to only 81 rushing yards.

Penn State: Quarterback Sean Clifford, the Penn State Chapter President, was responsible for all four Nittany Lions touchdowns in a tight victory over No. 16 Michigan in front of the fourth-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history. Penn State remains unbeaten at 7-0, moved up to No. 6 in the latest rankings and beat back-to-back ranked opponents for the first time since 2005. Clifford had a rushing touchdown and three TD passes, including a pair to wideout K.J. Hamler, who finished with 108 receiving yards on six catches.

Saint Francis: The Red Flash defense posted the first shutout for Saint Francis since 2015 and limited Long Island to only 157 total yards. Redshirt sophomore QB Jason Brown tossed three TD passes and finished with 247 yards through the air. Saint Francis’ defense limited LIU to minus-1 yard rushing, racked up 14 tackles for a loss and recorded four sacks. SFU Chapter President Nick Rinella chipped in with four tackles and was in on a tackle for a loss.

Princeton: The Tigers scored seven touchdowns and posted 51 points in a near-perfect first half to stay undefeated and run its winning streak to 15 games. At the center of the Princeton storm was QB Kevin Davidson. The senior from California, who leads the FCS in completion percentage at nearly 73 percent, threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns by completing 27 of his 35 attempts. Wideout Jacob Birmelin was the other half of the Tigers’ explosion, registering 11 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.

Clemson: Led by a defense forced three turnovers, registered six sacks and limited Louisville to only 263 total yards, the defending National Champion Tigers stayed unbeaten and ran their winning streak to a record 22 in a row. RB Travis Etienne had another monster game with 192 yards on only 14 carries and one touchdown. Etienne averaged 13.7 yards per carry as part of an offense that piled up 551 yards on the road.

Colgate: After seven consecutive setbacks the defending Patriot League champions picked up victory No. 1 of the 2019 season on the road at Cornell. But it wasn’t easy. The Raiders defense had to make a late stand to preserve the one-point win. Defensive lineman Jacob Esarco had a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The Raiders turned Esarco’s fumble recovery into seven critical points. Colgate’s last victory was in the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs – a span of 322 days.

Get ready for Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 coming this October


Every touchdown scored during the month of October by participating members of the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of college football student-athlete led chapters will help support the Rare Disease Community.

Uplifting Athletes chapters are run by college football student-athletes. So, for fans, this is a great way to support the players on your favorite team in their off-the-field efforts by supporting their on-field performance.

“Uplifting Athletes’ college football chapters provide a unique platform to raise awareness for the Rare Disease Community. Touchdown Pledge Drive is an in-season student-athlete led initiative to shine a national spotlight on rare diseases,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett said. “We are grateful to each and every school that is participating this year by spreading awareness and encouraging their fans to pledge per touchdown scored during games in October to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes.”

Clemson, Colgate, Davidson, Fordham, Illinois, Kent State, Lehigh, Marist, NC State, Northwestern, Penn, Penn State, Saint Francis, Stony Brook,  Syracuse and Western Michigan chapters have each committed to helping Uplifting Athletes Tackle Rare Diseases by participating in Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019.

Fans can simply make a pledge to their favorite college-football student-athlete led chapter for each touchdown they score in October. Then as the games unfold, watch and cheer as each touchdown scored helps raise money to support the Rare Disease Community.

The proceeds from Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

The challenges faced by the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The grassroots effort of our nationwide network of teams is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community and shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

Find your favorite Uplifting Athletes Chapter using college football as a platform to shine a spotlight on the Rare Disease Community, and support their efforts by signing up for Touchdown Pledge Drive 2019 today!

Chapter Update: Maryland piles up records in Week 2 upset of Syracuse


Maryland is off to a 2-0 start, and the Terrapins offense is setting plenty of school records in the process.

The opening victory over Howard, where the Terps scored 79 points, was no surprise at all. But following that up with 63 against previously ranked Syracuse turned plenty of heads in Week 2 of the college football season.

Maryland’s 63 points are the most ever against a ranked opponent and for the first time in school history the Terps have scored 55 or more points in back-to-back games.

Quarterback Josh Jackson threw for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns and four running backs teamed up for 343 rushing yards and six touchdowns on only 37 carries. 

Fast starts have been key for Maryland, as the Terps have totaled 98 points in the first half this season, the most in a two-game stretch in program history.

Learn more about Illinois Chapter President Bobby Walker in our Beyond The Trophy series.

Penn State: Trailing Buffalo at halftime, the Nittany Lions used a pick-6 by cornerback John Reid to ignite a fire under the offense that saw Penn State outscore the visitors 38-3 in the second half. QB Sean Clifford, the PSU Chapter President, had 345 total yards and threw four touchdown passes. TE Pat Freiermuth had a career-high in catches (8), yards (99) and tied his career-best for touchdowns with a pair.

Davidson: The Wildcats used a pair of interception returns for touchdowns and a balanced offensive push to overwhelm Virginia Lynchburg at home. For the second consecutive week Davidson’s defense did not allow a point in the first half. Rayshawn McCall and Jaden Pask returned interceptions for touchdowns covering 46 and 37 yards, respectively.

NC State: After a sluggish first quarter where the Wolfpack scored only three points, the Wolfpack offense heated up and scored on six consecutive possessions to blank Western Carolina. Zonovan Knight, a true freshman running back making only his second career start, became the 57th player in NC State Football history to rush for 100 yards. He is the second fastest player to record a 100-yard game since Tremayne Stephens did it in his first career start in 1994.  Knight’s feats earned him the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Kent State: For only the second time in program history, the Flashes won an overtime game by rallying with a late 4th quarter 38-yard field goal from Matthew Trickett before he won the game by converting a 43 yarder in extra time. Kent State had lost nine consecutive overtime games before claiming this year’s home opener.

Illinois: Trailing by 13 points early in the second quarter, the Illini erupted for 24 unanswered points to grab a lead it never relinquished. Quarterback Brandon Peters threw four touchdown passes – three of those in the second quarter – and became only the second Illinois QB since 2000 to throw for seven touchdowns in the first two games of the season. Peters, who threw for 164 yards in the second quarter, spread the ball around, too, with nine receivers catching at least one of his 24 completions.

Clemson: The Tigers tied the school record for consecutive victories at 17 by taking out No. 12 Texas A&M at home. The defending National Champions and consensus No. 1 team in the country improved to 9-1 against SEC teams since 2016. Clemson led 17-3 at halftime behind a defense that limited the Aggies to fewer than 100 yards over the first two quarters, and were never threatened in the second half.

Baylor: Five different Bears rushed for a touchdown and, for the second consecutive week, Baylor scored 35 first-half points to roll over UTSA at home. This was the third consecutive game, dating back to the bowl game in 2018, Baylor has posted 500 or more yards of offense.

Florida State: Star running back Cam Akers needed to be at his very best for the Seminoles to hold off the upset bid of the ULM Warhawks. Akers had 41 touches for 248 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, including the eventual winning TD in overtime. Akers’ 36 rushing attempts broke a school record that had been shared by Mike Sellers (1950) and Travis Minor (1998) for the last 21 years. He finished with 193 yards on the ground.

Western Kentucky: A late goal-line stand by the Hilltoppers defense preserved a six-point Conference USA road victory over Florida International in Miami. FIU had second-and-goal at the WKU 2-yard line late in the fourth quarter before the Hilltoppers defense forced a fumble to move the ball back to the 16-yard line. Two more incompletions and a first down by the offense offense later, WKU had its first win of the season.

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Illinois tight end and Chapter President Bobby Walker


Each week during the college football season we will feature a player who is an officer for an Uplifting Athletes Chapter for our Beyond the Trophy series.

Name: Bobby Walker

College: University of Illinois

Height, weight, class, position: 6-4, 240-pound, senior, tight end

High School: Loyola Academy in Golf, Ill.

About Bobby: A former walk-on who earned a scholarship prior to his junior season, Bobby has already earned bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently working on his master’s degree in management. He has appeared in all 12 games each of the last two seasons on special teams, and in 2017 made his first collegiate catch against Nebraska. For his work as a selfless servant to help other, the Illinois Chapter President is an AFCA Good Works Team nominee and is on the Wuerffel Trophy preseason watch list. Bobby has been a chapter leader serving the Rare Disease Community for three years, attended the Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference in 2018 and 2019 and stepped into the role of Chapter President for his senior year.

What is your most memorable experience as a college football player?

WALKER: My most memorable moment was being put on scholarship on Christmas of my junior year. I came in as a walk-on to school and I always had a dream to be a scholarship football player and to see that come true was something I’ll never forget. 

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

WALKER: Nicky Allegretti was probably the reason I got involved with Uplifting Athletes. I have always tried to get into service and the way Nick led the way, for me it was a great example.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

WALKER: I have learned a ton from Uplifting Athletes. I think first off, it would be about the Rare Disease Community as a whole and how much we as college athletes can affect a community that gets overlooked frequently. Being part of another community outside of football was also nice because it gives you another identity other than the game that most of us have been playing since we were kids. Eventually this game ends for everyone and finding outlets for my time in other areas has been very rewarding. 

What advice would you share with someone in high school looking to play college football?

WALKER: If you don’t love football you shouldn’t play at the next level. The commitment levels required to play in college are immense. You give up a lot of your time being around this game and if you aren’t loving every second of it you are going to find yourself in a bad place. Lastly would be how to manage time. Not only between football and school, but balancing relationships between family, friends, and your girlfriend are not easy and are often stressful. All that being said with your head and heart in the right place, as well as a strong support system around you, this game can be more rewarding than anything else in the world. 

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

WALKER: Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys is my favorite NFL player. Obviously he plays tight end but he also is a guy who knew how to be a professional in all senses of the word. He’s a great teammate, hard worker, committed father, and dedicated husband all the while coming back to play after a year of being out of the game. 

If you could have lunch with any one person (dead or alive), who would you choose and why?

WALKER: If I could have lunch with anyone it would probably be Richard (Dick) Winters. He was the commanding officer for Easy Company in the 101st Airborne Division during World War II made famous by the book and HBO mini series Band Of Brothers. I would want to ask him about his experiences before and after the war, going through his rise in the military, being a part of one of the most decorated units in one of the hardest times in human history, as well as how he struggled in his life after the war. 

BOBBY ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

WALKER: Deep Dish sausage pizza with butter crust well done from Lou Malnatis. Can’t be beat.

All time favorite movie?

WALKER: Favorite movie is The Dark Knight. I always have been a huge Batman fan and the direction from Christopher Nolan as well as his casting were superb. 

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

WALKER: Chick-fil-A

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

WALKER: Chicago Cubs. Seeing them win the World Series after so many years was an amazing experience. 

What is the most used app on your phone?

WALKER: Probably Instagram. Whenever I need to kill time I feel like I get lost on there.