Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Work Just Beginning For Notre Dame Captain Jalen Elliott

August 13, 2019
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Notre Dame named seven captains over the weekend and it allowed safety Jalen Elliott’s career to somewhat come full circle. 
 
The Virginia native was thrown to the wolves as a freshman and sophomore at Notre Dame, but Elliott kept his head down and continued to work. The hard work allowed Elliott to have a breakout season in 2018 as he recorded 67 tackles, one tackle for loss, 0.5 sacks, four interceptions and seven passes defended.
 
“We took that personal,” Elliott said of the safety unit taking the blame in past years. “We were tired of the days where it was like ‘We have to get the quarterback upfront because the back end isn’t going to get it done.’ We competed and having two captains in the room is unbelievable. Our work is just beginning and we have to continue to push.” 
 
During fall camp a year ago, I’m not sure many saw this coming. Elliott was projected to start, but found himself running with the second unit at times. 
 
Elliott didn’t pout or get down on himself as he saw his reps decrease, he took it as a challenge and it paid off. 
 
“When I got with the second group, I had to refocus and think about what was important,” explained Elliott. “I had to get back to the basics. Once I allowed myself to stop thinking so much, trying to make the big play and just do my job, that’s when everything started to come back to me. It’s really important to get back to the basics at the end of the day when you’re seeing too much.” 
 
Looking back at the turning point of his career, Elliott admitted he didn’t have a problem with the demotion as he wasn’t playing his best football, which can serve as an important lesson for the younger players on the team.
 
“A lot of people don’t understand the depth chart is fluid in training camp,” stated Elliott. “You string along two or three bad days, you deserve to get moved down. We don’t have time to wait on people and see how it will turn out. It’s almost game time. I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain and I wasn’t playing well enough.”
 
As for being named captain, Elliott was pretty pleased with the vote of confidence from his teammates, but he’s not satisfied.
 
“It’s truly an honor,” Elliott said. “You dream of stuff like this when you come to Notre Dame. You see so many great captains, but I remind myself daily that the work is just beginning. I got named captain with a bunch of other great captains, but at the same time, I have to continue to push and lead. That’s what my teammates and coaches are expecting from me.”
 
Being named captain was a significant honor for Elliott, but the senior is also up for the Wuerffel Award, which Drue Tranquill won a year ago.
 
The Wuerffell Award is known as ‘College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service’ and is given out in February. According to Notre Dame, Elliott has been among the five most active student-athletes when it comes to community service since he arrived in South Bend.
 
“It’s huge whenever you have a platform like we do at Notre Dame or any college campus,” said Elliott. “It’s important to give back and show the youth if they continue to work, they could be in the same position.” 

 
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