Going with His Gut

Kevin Elliott was a wanted man. While a student at Orlando’s Colonial High School, he won two track and field state championships. Major collegiate powers like Clemson, Georgia, Arkansas and other Division I programs came knocking at the door. They all wanted Elliott on their track teams.

With all the offers, there was one thing that none of those recruiters offered: a football scholarship.

“I wanted to go to school for football,” the junior wide receiver said. “Most of the college scholarships I had for track didn’t want me playing football because there was a high risk of me being injured.”

With top-tier schools declining to put a football offer on the table, Elliott decided to land on a campus that would accommodate both of his talents.

“FAMU came and gave me a football scholarship, with the option of running track,” Elliott said. “No other school wanted to do that. It worked out perfect for me.”


Elliott’s decision to bypass several track scholarships and concentrate on football was also aided by his mother Tonya Harrison.

She said she wanted her son to go wherever gave him the best opportunity to be great at what he loved.

“I always told my son that he needed to follow his heart,” Harrison said. “Football was his heart, and that’s what he wanted to do.”

Harrison remembers watching her son making defenders miss when he was 7 years old playing in a Pop Warner football league. She said those were the days when she discovered her son’s love for the game.

“In Pop Warner, I loved when my baby would get that ball and run and nobody would catch him,” Harrison said. “He never wanted to lose, and would do anything for his team to win. That’s when I knew that Kevin’s passion was football.”

As he matured, he took that same charisma and athleticism to high school.

The 6-foot-3 200 pound Elliot, was a three-sport letterman in football, track and basketball.

During the fall of his senior season in high school, Elliot was overpowering defenses with his acrobatics and size. During the spring, he had historians rewriting local and state record books.

Elliott was the state champion his senior year in both the high and triple jump. He leaped 6-feet 11-inches in the high jump and 49-feet 9-inches in the triple jump, becoming the first athlete at Colonial to win two state championships in one year.

“Those two state championships were probably two of the greatest accomplishments of my life,” Elliott said. “Those are memories that I will always have and never forget.”

His outstanding achievements both on and off the field, earned him most valuable player honors in all three sports in 2007.

He was also named the Orange County athlete of the year.

Colonial head coach Steve Breitbeil said that the most important thing about Elliott was his focus on the team.

“Kevin was a hard worker and tremendous athlete,” Breitbeil said. “Deep down, I think Kevin always considered himself a football player first and foremost.”

Breitbeil noted that one of the most memorable things about Elliott was his determination.

“Even when he did compete as a track athlete, he always gave 110 percent in the activity or sport he participated in at the time,” Breitbeil said. “When Kevin sets his mind on doing something, it’s all about getting it done.”

Breitbeil also praised the Harrison family for how they raised their son.

“Kevin was just an outstanding student and great citizen here on campus,” Breibeil said. “He was a young man of high character. I think a lot of that goes back to the family, starting with his parents.”

During his tenure, Elliott has caught 152 passes for 2095 yards and 18 touchdowns. He earned first team All-MEAC honors as a freshman, ranking second in the conference in receiving yards per game.

This season, he is the go-to-receiver for freshman quarterback Damien Fleming and the Rattler offense. Elliott leads the receiving corps with 20 receptions for 343 yards and one touchdown.

FAMU’s wide receivers coach Steven Jerry said that Elliott’s captainship is special.

“He’s a natural leader on the field,” Jerry said. “He’s really one of those guys that everybody gravitates toward on the field and in the locker room.”

Off the field, Jerry described Elliot as being “a modern kid”.

“He’s one of my more technical guys,” Jerry said. “The kid is never separated from his iPhone or iPad. He really likes to have fun.”

When he’s not running routes, lifting weights or going over film, Elliott picks up his controller and zones out on his television.

“I enjoy playing Call of Duty on the Playstation3 with my teammates,” Elliott said. “We play with each other a lot. It also strengthens team chemistry.”

While reminiscing on the glory days of his track years, Elliot still knows his decision to play football was the best one.

“Playing football at FAMU has been a great experience for me,” Elliott said. “I’ll never trade it for anything.”