By: John Dunn
The All Vol Call in Show
November 3, 2019
After a decisive victory over the visiting UAB Blazers on homecoming night, members of the University of Tennessee men's football team took to the gates of Neyland Stadium to engage with their loyal fans who had braved the chilly temperatures to be at the game.
The Vols took care of business and downed the Blazers 30-7, but for Chelsea Elrod and her family, a brush with Tennessee linebacker Henry To'o To'o after the game would be the highlight of the evening.
While having autographs signed by the players, To'o To'o approached Elrod's son, Cooper, to sign a jersey for him. Elrod's daughter, Brynleigh, happened to notice a nice bright-red box of Skittles in To'o To'o's jacket, and said, "I want some Skittles"!
Elrod stated that without hesitation, To'o To'o took the box of candy from his pocket and gave Brynleigh a handful. "She said, 'I want some Skittles!' and he just pulled them out of his pocket and gave some to her," said Elrod. "He said that his mother always taught him to share."
Elrod says that To'o To'o was extremely courteous and thankful to the fans that had turned out to support the team even in the chilly temperatures. "He asked us if we had enjoyed the game and was saying how much he appreciated the fans coming out to the game," she said. "He signed stuff for both of my children and even took pictures."
A few of the photos that were taken ended up blurry, but the Elrods caught back up with To'o To'o and his family, who Elrod says treated them like they were someone they knew.
"A few of the pictures were blurry," said Elrod. "We caught back up with him and he ended up taking several more photos with more members of my family. His parents were standing-by and his father asked me if I would like for him to take one of all of us together. They addressed us as if they knew us, it wasn't like strangers interacting at all."
This was Elrod's daughter's first game at Neyland Stadium. "I’ve been a fan for the last four years, since I got married," said Elrod. "Before that, I was never really into football -- until my husband took my daughter and I to Neyland Stadium. She was born in to it. This was her first game and she loved every minute of it, but Henry (To'o To'o) sharing his Skittles with her definitely made her night."
Elrod's daughter had some nice words for To'o To'o, saying that he was, "a nice boy".
"He stood out there in the cold weather and made sure everyone got an autograph that wanted one," said Elrod. "He's definitely the type of athlete you want your children to look up to on and off the field."
To'o To'o wasn't the only player that the Elrod family got to meet after the game. Tennessee quarterback Brian Maurer also met the family. "Brian (Maurer) was a stand-up guy also. He made my son's night by picking him up and holding him," said Elrod.
Both Maurer and To'o To'o are a part of the "Pruitt recruits" that are seemingly changing the culture at the University of Tennessee both on and off the field. Maurer has helped energize Tennessee's offense, while To'o To'o has helped anchor the Volunteer defense from the linebacker position.
With the victory over UAB on homecoming night, the Vols improved to 4-5 on the season and prepare to take on the Kentucky Wildcats on Nov. 9 in Lexington.