One of the best things in all of sports is when a walk-on earns a scholarship. The incredible amount of work they put in, with little to no recognition, earns the respect of their teammates. That was certainly the case with former Florida State walk-on Javien Elliot, who was awarded his scholarship at the beginning of September.
In an interview with Seminoles.com, Elliot said that he didn't want to be just another walk-on at Florida State.
“I just started smiling,” Elliott said. “When I first came in, I had made up my mind that I didn’t want be a regular walk-on. So I remained dedicated to the system. I bought into the system and worked my way up.”
That was evident through the first five games of the season on Special teams and in mop up duty against Texas State. Elliot has played in five of the six games the Seminoles have as a starter on the kickoff return team. He was also able to get in the game against Texas State and forced a fumble.
Against Louisville, Elliot got a chance to do even more when he entered the game to replace Tyler Hunter at the Star position. Louisville immediately went after him, but he was expecting it.
"The very first passing play I was in they came straight to me," Elliot said. "I knew they were going to pick on me."
They tried to pick on him again on a deep route to wide receiver James Quick, who caught three touchdowns on Saturday. Quick fell down on the route and Elliot was able to get the first interception of his career. His teammates may have been happier for him than he was.
"I didn’t know it was going to be like," Elliot said. "I got up, I ran to the sideline. I tried to celebrate, and they knocked me back down again. I love all my brothers. It’s a great feeling."
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher couldn't say enough about how hard Elliot has worker in his five years as a Seminole.
"That guys' heart and soul was in it," Fisher said. "He made plays. He hustled. You put him on that kickoff team, you go back and look at every kickoff every week, he's one of our top guys on special teams, making plays. Hey, we needed a player here, defense, we've got some guys hurt, guys injured, things going on, he played his tail off in practice, got ready, and I don't know if people in today's time, with as many people playing football, and the walk-ons in the old days, trying to get on the field at an elite level at a school like this with the way we recruit, to walk on here, to get a scholarship, and to go out and make plays on special teams and then go play with those guys on defense and make big plays in the game, help turn that thing around, I don't know if we really appreciate how hard and what that young man has done, what he has done and how big that is, how hard that is to do, especially on a team that has a lot of talented players. I'll tell you what, here's an example of I don't care. I'm just going to go play. Our teammates love him. Our team loves him."
The Florida State players and coaches are clearly proud of Elliot and his accomplishments. Elliot, however, is not satisfied with what he's accomplished. He wants more.
"I’m still not satisfied," Elliot said. "But it’s good to know that hard work pays off. If you do the right things and trust in the coaches and trust in your brothers, good things will happen.
Elliot will look to continue to make an impact at Florida State, and, if his performance so for is any indication, that shouldn't be too hard for him.