Who is Caleb Elliott? Most high schoolers might be asleep at 9 a.m. on a winter Saturday morning. But not Elliott.
The senior hops out of bed and gets dressed. He heads to the school he’s been to all week.
Elliott, a wide receiver and point guard for the Eagles football and basketball teams, is not going for a practice. Delta runs a program called “The Future Eagles.” It allows elementary kids to play team basketball inside the school’s gym.
For this to happen, the teams need a coach, an official and a scoreboard operator.
Once he arrives, Delta’s varsity basketball head coach Mark Detweiler lets him and his teammates decide which role they would like to do.
Usually, he decides to do the officiating because for one, he will still be a part of the game.
“Not many people like to make calls,” Elliott said. “It takes more effort than you’d think.”
But that last factor is something that defines Elliott: he volunteers his time.
The Indianapolis Colts youth program gave out its second Man of the Year award for this season. The award goes to a high school football player who shows uncommon leadership.
Five finalists were chosen for the 2022 award. Cory Robinson, a senior from Seymour High School, won the award, but one of the finalists this season was Elliott.
“I was just kind of in awe,” Elliott said. “Being one of the top five kids in the state to be acknowledged for it. I think it was pretty cool.”
For an athlete to be recognized, they have to be nominated by a teacher or coach. Delta’s head football coach Chris Overholt picked Elliott.
“He is a fantastic representative of our team and school,” Overholt said. “He volunteers for several community service activities: neighborhood clean-ups, food drives, elementary school readings, youth camps, etc. Also, he is our school [Fellowship of Christian Athletes] representative and serves as a tremendous spiritual leader.”
It’s not just Elliott’s coach that sees the good he does. His teammate, senior Palmer Samuels, was not surprised when he heard Elliott was a finalist.
“Great person, great teammate and a great player,” Samuels said. “Type of guy you’d go to war with and never look back.”
Besides his football bubble, his friends appreciate what type of friend he is. Senior Owen Vest and Elliott have known each other since elementary school, but they became really good friends freshman year.
“He’s a very supportive and caring friend,” Vest said. “It does not shock me at all that he was nominated. He is a great guy and athlete.”
Another good friend, senior Chase Davis, described Elliott as a leader.
“He always tries to get people involved,” he said. “He leads people in the right way, and he is just a good presence to be around. He’s also super funny and just a good friend. Always someone you can talk to. If you have the pleasure to have him in your life, it makes life so much better.”
Who is Caleb Elliott? When Elliott was eight years old, he started to realize others in the world around him were not as fortunate.
“I kind of started to understand, like, ‘Oh, we're more fortunate than these people,’” Elliott said. “And we're giving back, like that's what giving back means. Then I started helping with things like food banks and stuff.”
He credited his parents for continuing to help their community.
“We're a very giving family,” he said. “We'll do some fundraisers and some runs for fundraisers and whatnot. Like, that's just what our family does, and I think that's what our parents have set up for us.”
One of Elliott’s favorite memories giving back came from when the basketball team volunteered at a shoe drive during summer 2021.
“There was a lady that I was helping with,” Elliott said. “And she was like, just in awe about us, Delta, like we have this billion-dollar weight facility. And she was like, ‘Oh, that's crazy.’ They're just confused like, you have all of this stuff. Why would we want to help? Just seeing all those smiles and giving out shoes and backpacks for kids to school and stuff. It was just awesome.”
When it comes to school, Elliott does whatever it takes to get good grades.
“There's nights that I'll get home at like 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., and I'll be up till midnight just studying and working on homework,” he said. “School has always been really important to me. I want to get good grades because if sports don't work out, I want to find ways to pay for my college.”
If he could, he would like to continue playing football. For a degree, he is interested in journalism and has also thought about ministry.
Even though Elliott hasn't fully decided on his future, he hopes he is not in Muncie, Indiana.
“I hope I'm finding a new area that I can help with and just start a family,” he said.
So who is Caleb Elliott?
“I want the people I interact with to know I care about them,” he said. “And like all my teammates, I care a lot about them. I love them all. I'm really big with relationships. I love building relationships, no matter how long or short I’ve been around them. I want to build genuine relationships.”
Contact Zach Carter with comments at email@example.com or on Twitter @ZachCarter85.