Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Notre Dame Chapter Vice President and linebacker Drew White


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: Drew White

College: University of Notre Dame

Height, weight, class, position: 6-0, 230-pound, junior, linebacker

High School: St. Thomas Aquinas in Boca Raton, Florida

About Drew: After appearing in four games a redshirt freshman for the Fighting Irish in 2018, Drew has taken over a full-time starter at linebacker this season. Through nine games he’s second on the team in tackles with 55, leads Notre Dame with 8.0 tackles for a loss and has pair of sacks. Drew participated in the inaugural Notre Dame Chapter Lift For Life in 2018 and was inspired to take on a bigger role for the Fighting Irish Chapter. He volunteered to become a Chapter Leader and attended the Leadership Development Conference in January of 2019. Drew is motivated by the rare disease cause, wanted to make a difference and is inspired by the children who attend the Uplifting Experience at the Notre Dame Chapter Bowling Event. He was instrumental in Notre Dame’s record-breaking Lift For Life in 2019 and provides a strong voice from his platform on behalf of the Rare Disease Community.

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

WHITE: My most memorable experience in my college football career thus far was replacing Drue Tranquil in the 2018 Navy game and having my first shot at playing middle linebacker for Notre Dame.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

WHITE: I wanted to use the platform I was granted to help and inspire kids with rare diseases.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

WHITE: I’ve learned that these kids who have been dealt the worst of hands are the toughest individuals I know and they keep on inspiring me.

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

WHITE: Be first class in every aspect of your life as a student athlete. Don’t cut corners. Go to class, meet with professors, do extra in the weightroom, and be in film study. Yes, it is hard but the results from your hardwork will be evident.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

WHITE: My favorite NFL player is Leighton Vander Esch of the Dallas Cowboys because he plays sideline to sideline, is a leader and has a certain attitude that one needs to play linebacker.

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

WHITE: I would have lunch with Denzel Washington. Denzel is my favorite actor and his speech at Dillard University is the most inspiring talk I have ever listened to.

DREW ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

WHITE: Good Ole Pepperoni (If it’s a truly good pizzeria, you don’t need all that extra stuff on a pizza)

All time favorite movie?

WHITE: Inside Man (Denzel Washington was a beast in this movie)

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

WHITE: Chipotle

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

WHITE: Miami Dolphins

What is the most used app on your phone?

WHITE: Snapchat

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Notre Dame Chapter Vice President and tight end Brock Wright


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: Brock Wright

College: University of Notre Dame

Height, weight, class, position: 6-5, 246-pound, junior, tight end

High School: Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas

About Brock: The native of Texas has appeared in more than 30 games for the Fighting Irish since enrolling early as part of the 2017 recruiting class. Brock joined the leadership team for the Notre Dame Chapter after participating in the 2018 Lift For Life event. He attended the 2019 Leadership Development Conference and serves as the Chapter Vice President. Brock played a significant role in leading the ND Chapter through its annual Uplifting Experience Bowling Event with rare disease patients, siblings and caregivers and the second Lift For Life.

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

WRIGHT: Beating USC at home my freshman year.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

WRIGHT: I believe that we have a responsibility as athletes to use our resources to help others and saw Uplifting Athletes as a perfect way to do so.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

WRIGHT: A little bit goes a long way when it comes to helping others.

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

WRIGHT: Enjoy every moment of it, and don’t get caught up worrying about the future.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

WRIGHT: Rob Gronkowski – he plays the game with a crazy amount of energy and passion.

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

WRIGHT: Matthew McConaughey – he’s the coolest dude alive.

BROCK ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

WRIGHT: Pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, bacon and onion

All time favorite movie?

WRIGHT: Forrest Gump

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

WRIGHT: Whataburger

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

WRIGHT: Houston Texans

What is the most used app on your phone?

WRIGHT: Snapchat

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Penn State Chapter Vice President and long snapper Chris Stoll


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: Chris Stoll

College: Penn State University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-2, 245-pound, sophomore, long snapper

High School: St. Francis DeSales, Westerville, Ohio

About Chris: Took over the full-time long snapper duties this season, becoming one of 21 Nittany Lions to make their collegiate debut in 2019. He has appeared in all eight games this season. Chris had a passion for the cause when he arrived at Penn State. His grandfather suffers from a rare disease, so the sophomore understands the impact a rare disease can have on a family. Afforded the platform of being a starter, Chris was aware of the tradition of the Penn State Chapter and became part of the leadership group. He attended the Leadership Development Conference in 2019 and currently serves at the PSU Chapter vice President.

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

STOLL: Making a tackle on punt coverage in the 2019 “Whiteout” game against Michigan.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

STOLL: My grandpa suffers from a rare disease, so if I can make any sort of impact on the future of my grandpa’s health then I will, because I know how much it can affect a person and their loved ones.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

STOLL: I’ve learned that Uplifting Athletes is doing a lot of work in order to get more research started and awareness raised, which I think will be even more impactful in the future.

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

STOLL: For my position as a specialist, you really need to have good academics and need to go to college camps and perform well to get noticed. You always have to be at your best, but being in shape and showing your athleticism is very important.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

STOLL: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees because of his consistency in his preparation and the longevity of his career. Also the importance of his faith and family, which is what I hope for later in life.

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

STOLL: Jesus Christ because I would want to ask him important life questions.

CHRIS ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

STOLL: New York style pizza

All time favorite movie?

STOLL: Dark Knight

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

STOLL: Skyline Chili

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

STOLL: Columbus Blue Jackets

What is the most used app on your phone?

STOLL: Instagram

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Kent State Chapter President and wide receiver Antwan Dixon


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: Antwan Dixon

College: Kent State University

Height, weight, class, position: 5-8, 178-pound, senior, wide receiver

High School: South Fort Myers in Fort Myers, Fla.

About Antwan: Right away in 2015 Antwan made an impact as a true freshman, hauling in 26 catches for 355 yards that first season with a TD catch in his first game and a rushing touchdown. Diagnosed with the rare blood disorder aplastic anemia, he missed the next two seasons battling his rare disease including receiving a bone marrow transplant. Antwan returned to Kent State in 2018, caught a TD pass in his first game back, led the Golden Flashes in receptions, was second on the team in receiving yards, played in all 12 games, was a finalist for the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion award and was voted the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year. Antwan was inspired to use his platform as a college football student-athlete to give back to others in the Rare Disease Community. He attended the Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference early in 2019 and worked with his teammates and university football support staff to launch the Kent State Chapter. As the Kent State Chapter President, Antwan and his Golden Flashes teammates held their inaugural Lift For Life earlier this year.

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

DIXON: My most memorable experience was coming back after two years and scoring my first touchdown on my first reception.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

DIXON: I wanted to work with Uplifting Athletes because I want to raise money for people like myself that have a rare disease and don’t have a cure.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

DIXON: My experience with Uplifting Athletes has taught me that my platform as an athlete with a rare disease is very inspirational and I can touch many lives thanks to the status I have as a football player.

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

DIXON: Advice I would for a high school student-athlete trying to play college ball is stay the course and be true to yourself, don’t let anyone steer you in the wrong direction. You are your own person and you are strong enough to get through anything. Always believe in you. Even if someone says conceited or cocky, let them know its confidence.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

DIXON: My favorite NFL player of all time is Michael Vick. I just love watching him play football.

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

DIXON: If I could have lunch with one person it would be my granddad, James Causey, Sr. I miss that guy a lot and he always protected me from getting a butt whooping when I did something wrong. In his eyes, I was just a kid and I could do no wrong.

ANTWAN ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

DIXON: Pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon with extra cheese

All time favorite movie?

DIXON: Bad Boys 2

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

DIXON: Wendy’s

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

DIXON: Philadelphia Eagles

What is the most used app on your phone?

DIXON: Snapchat

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Lehigh Chapter Vice President and defensive back Divine Buckrham


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: Divine Buckrham

College: Lehigh University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-0, 185-pound, junior, defensive back

High School: Kiski School in Queens, N.Y.

About Divine: A player who contributed the moment he stepped on campus, Buckrham played in all 12 games as a freshman in 2017 with five starts and as a sophomore a year ago started eight games. This season as a starter he’s posted 18 tackles including a winning tackle on the road against Colgate a half-yard short of the goal line on the final play to preserve the victory. As a young player who was having an impact on the field, Divine was looking to use that platform to have an impact off the field. He volunteered to become a leader and co-founder of the Lehigh Chapter in the infancy stages, attended the Leadership Development Conference in 2018 and as the chapter Vice President was instrumental in Lehigh holding its inaugural Lift For Life to support the Rare Disease Community in 2019.

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

BUCKRHAM: Beating Lafayette my freshman year (2017) for the Patriot League Title. Started in my first Lehigh-Lafayette game and had a blast in the cold, wet, and rainy weather. 

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

BUCKRHAM: By hearing about the Leadership Development Conference from my position coach, a good friend of Rob (Long). From there, having a great experience getting to meet the guys in charge and learning how I and other college-football players have the power to help people suffering from Rare Diseases. I thought it was my responsibility to take advantage of this opportunity.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

BUCKRHAM: I learned to be selfless. Putting people before me even more than I did before, can actually help save lives in the long run. I learned that despite all being opponents on the field, we (all Uplifting Athletes Chapters) all have the job and platform to put people suffering from rare disease who need help, before ourselves.

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

BUCKRHAM: Trust the process! The recruiting process is different for every single player! Don’t get ahead of yourself but at the same time have confidence and know who you are on and off the field no matter where you end up. Take everything one step at a time, and most importantly, work your tail off day-in and day-out.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

BUCKRHAM: Tough one but would have to be Tyrann Mathieu. I love the passion he plays with and the fire he brings to the field. His story is truly inspiring and makes me feel like I can make it through any storm, on or off the field. The man has the craziest defensive college highlight tape of all time. He’s a versatile freak and makes plays ALL over the field. I try and match my play to his.

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

BUCKRHAM: My man NIPSEY HUSSLE “THE GREAT”! Easy. He is truly my idol in every aspect. I learned countless things from him from how to hold myself, how to be bigger than just an athlete, how to think intellectually, and to inspire others. I have a poster of him on my wall and plan on getting a tattoo of his face this winter after the season. To sit down and have a conversation would be one of the biggest moments of my life, without a question. His demeanor, charisma, and way of thinking is out of this world, and despite him passing, I still feel like he’s underrated. #TheMarathonContinues!

DIVINE ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

BUCKRHAM: Pepperoni and sausage. Sometimes pineapple instead of the sausage depending on my mood! 

All time favorite movie?

BUCKRHAM: 4-Way Tie: The Polar Express, Avatar, The Legend of Tarzan, and Troy

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

BUCKRHAM: Chick-fil-A

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

BUCKRHAM: Pittsburgh Steelers

What is the most used app on your phone?

BUCKRHAM: Instagram

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Syracuse Chapter Vice President and Orange punter/kicker Nolan Cooney


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: Nolan Cooney

College: Syracuse University

Height, weight, class, position: 6-3, 201-pound, redshirt junior, punter/placekicker

High School: East Greenwich High School, East Greenwich, R.I.

About Nolan: Shortly after arriving at Syracuse Nolan became involved with Uplifting Athletes. He has served in a leadership role for three years and provides invaluable leadership and experience on behalf of the Rare Disease Community as the Vice President of the Syracuse Chapter. Nolan attended the Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference in 2017, 2018 and 2019. He has been part of three Lift For Life events and has a passion for using his platform and voice to serve others through his own experiences. … In his second year as the holder for one of the better overall kicking games in the country. Nolan is unique in that he can punt and place kick if necessary. He is a three-time ACC Honor Roll selection, a five-time member of the Syracuse Athletic Director’s honor roll and in 2017 and 2018 was a member of SAAC.

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

COONEY: The turnaround of Syracuse football. Following consecutive losing seasons, the team meshed last season and we won 10 games. 

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

COONEY: I was introduced to Uplifting Athletes by my teammates. I found a connection with my own life, as I am a testicular cancer survivor. Uplifting Athletes and I share similar passions. Using sports, specifically college football, to raise awareness also affords me the opportunity to use my platform to share my story and the importance athletics plays in it.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

COONEY: Through Uplifting Athletes, I’ve been privileged to attend the Uplifting Athletes Leadership Development Conference. During that time I was able to collaborate and connect with so many different football players from around the country. I learned that all the athletes go through similar situations, and through all the high and lows, everybody has similar experiences.

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

COONEY: Playing college football is an amazing experience and privilege. Utilize playing college football to your advantage. You are part of a very select group, make sure you take advantage of it.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

COONEY: New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. He’s a workhorse who capitalized on his opportunity. He’s gritty determined and focused.

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

COONEY: Patriots coach Bill Belichick. He is the ultimate leader and his success in NFL is unmatched at the highest level of competition. He finds the best attributes and skill in players and coaches to their strengths.

NOLAN ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

COONEY: Cheese Pizza. Simply the Gold Standard … NYC Thin Crust

All time favorite movie?

COONEY: Shawshank Redemption

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

COONEY: Chipotle

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

COONEY: Boston Red Sox

What is the most used app on your phone?

COONEY: Twitter

Beyond The Trophy 2019: Get to know Eastern Illinois Chapter President and Panthers QB Jaylon Banks


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: Jaylon Banks

College: Eastern Illinois University

Height, weight, class, position: 5-11, 210-pound, redshirt sophomore, quarterback

High School: Oswego East in Oswego, Ill.

About Jaylon: The redshirt sophomore quarterback helped Eastern Illinois launch an Uplifting Athletes Chapter at rapid-fire pace in 2019. EIU held its inaugural Lift For Life earlier this year, and the value of the signature event and the rare disease cause inspired Jaylon to step forward and assume the role of Chapter President. He knows as the quarterback he is already in a high-profile position, and he wants to use that platform to help inspire the Rare Disease Community off the field. A native of Illinois, Jaylon set record at Oswego East High School his senior season for yards passing and touchdowns passes. And after a redshirt year in 2017, Jaylon appeared in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He made his collegiate debut against Tennessee Tech.

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

BANKS: I would say my memorable experience as a college football players would be my freshman year when we played Tennessee State. We played in Nissan Stadium, which is the home for the Tennessee Titans. Being able to play at a venue like that was very surreal. As a kid that is what you dream of, and to actually be playing a college football game was something I will never forget.

What drove you to get involved with Uplifting Athletes?

BANKS: I was introduced to Uplifting Athletes when we held an event at my school. I saw the great things that we were able to do when we put on the event. That was something I wanted to be involved with after the event.

What have you learned from your experience with Uplifting Athletes?

BANKS: I learned that it just takes a little bit of your time to make a difference. It is not hard to put out a link for an event, get the word out and then participate. The small sacrifice that you make can make a big difference in someone else’s life.

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

BANKS: First thing I would tell them is to believe in themselves. You can do it. Do not listen to the naysayers, listen to yourself. As long you work as hard as you can in every aspect of your life, there is no reason why you can’t play college football.

Who is your favorite NFL player and why?

BANKS: Russell Wilson is my favorite NFL player. Russell is listed at 5-11 and 215 pounds. I am 5-11 and 210 pounds. For a quarterback whose measurable are almost identical to mine gives me the motivation that I can play the quarterback position at a high level despite my “small” stature.

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

BANKS: The person I would choose is Alexander The Great. The reason why is, our food would be endless. He conquered lands from Macdeonia, through the Middle East, and almost all of Asia. From a conservation standpoint, I would be able to speak with one of the greatest leaders to ever live.

JAYLON ON THE HOT SEAT

What is your perfect pizza?

BANKS: Stuffed deep dish from Giordano’s

All time favorite movie?

BANKS: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

What is your go-to fast food restaurant?

BANKS: Popeyes

Favorite sports team (any sport)?

BANKS: Minnesota Vikings

What is the most used app on your phone?

BANKS: ESPN App