Seven Draft Pick Hopefuls Talked to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes About How They Put Their Faith in Jesus—No Matter What the Outcome
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Even though spring has just begun, football fans are already chomping at the bit for next season and will be watching the 2019 NFL Draft on April 25-27 in Nashville, and with great interest.
Among those anxiously waiting in the wings will be several college football standouts who have been profiled in Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, http://www.fca.org) Magazine. Over eight seasons, FCA published annual college football issues, highlighting hundreds of players who talked about their faith with the 65-year-old international sports ministry.
“These young players live out their faith on the field as followers of Jesus Christ, and He directs their playbook for life,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “We wish them all the best in this week’s NFL Draft — just the beginning of a journey we hope will be guided by God for years to come, either in the NFL or along another path.”
Seven who have discussed their faith with FCA are among the players to watch for this year’s draft:
RODNEY ANDERSON: RB: Oklahoma – “I pursue God by getting connected to a church and constantly surrounding myself with like-minded godly believers. I feel like it’s important to stay around believers because sin lurks around every corner.”
DAVID BLOUGH: QB: Purdue – “I passionately pursue a relationship with Christ because of His sacrifice on the cross. Serving a King who paid the ultimate price of death, bearing the weight of the world on His shoulders, for me to have a relationship with Him … everything I do ought to be to serve Him!” Blough also said one of the most iNFLuential people in his life while at Purdue was FCA Campus Director Marty Dittmar. “Through discipleship, mission trips and weekly FCA Huddles, the ministry of FCA has helped mold me into the man I am today.”
ALEC EBERLE: OL: Florida State – “I choose to follow Christ and have a relationship with Him because with Him anything is possible, and I firmly believe He gives me the opportunities He does for a reason.”
GARY JENNINGS: WR: West Virginia – “I passionately pursue a relationship with Jesus because without Him I am nothing.”
JOJO MCINTOSH: DB: Washington – “I grew up in faith and love for Jesus Christ. I have felt His everlasting love and grace. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for us; it is only right I give him praise and glory. God is great! All the time!”
HUNTER RENFROW: WR: Clemson – “I pursue a relationship with Christ by surrounding myself with the godly leadership and players around the team. They are constantly pointing me to Christ, and it allows me to play free and without pressure.” Renfrow also commented that FCA “has always been a large part of my life and has allowed me to become who I am today. Growing up, my parents were a part of FCA in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and it gave me an avenue to grow in my faith while meeting athletes who were constantly pursuing Christ.”
BRETT RYPIEN: QB: Boise State—“I pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ because I know He has a plan for my life, and, throughout any ups and downs, He will always be there for me.”
Interestingly, nearly all the college football standouts featured on the covers of eight editions of FCA Magazine’s college football editions over the years have been drafted or are playing or have played professional football in some capacity. These football stars have included:
MASON RUDOLPH: QB: Featured on the 2017 magazine cover, Rudolph was drafted in 2018 by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the NFL Draft. “I was blessed with talent, but my parents taught me at a young age that it takes a lot more than just talent to get where you want to go,” he said. “It’s just a blessing from God, and I’ve tried to use that to the best of my ability. I try to be a witness and do things off the field, because it’s more about how we can affect other people’s lives.”
TREVOR KNIGHT: QB: As the cover story in 2016, Knight is the quarterback for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football. “What I love about sports, and specifically football,” he said, “is they are such a parallel to life. I’m going to go through adversity like it talks about in James 1. But through all the ups and downs, I’ll put God first and allow Him to work in my life regardless of the circumstances, to get me through the challenges and celebrate the achievements.”
EVAN ENGRAM: TE: On the 2015 FCA Magazine cover, Engram was drafted by the New York Giants as the 23rd pick in the first round of the NFL Draft in 2017. “Football is a gift from God in my life, and I thank Him every day for it,” Engram said. “I thank Him for the ability to walk, to run, to have the athletic ability to play football. And for putting me around godly men on our coaching staff and godly brothers on my team. While we battle for victories on the field, we understand and believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection was the ultimate victory. The grace He gives us is a gift; we don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to do anything special for it. We wake up every morning with a ‘W’ because of what He did for us. It’s a blessing to serve a God who sacrificed everything He had for us.”
BRYCE PETTY: QB: Featured on the 2014 magazine cover, Petty was drafted in 2015 in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He is currently a free agent.
TAJH BOYD: QB: On the 2013 FCA Magazine cover, Boyd was also picked up by the Jets in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
MATT BARKLEY: QB: Appearing on the 2012 cover, Barkley was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles and today plays with the Buffalo Bills.
LANDRY JONES: QB: The 2011 magazine cover feature was drafted in the fourth round of The NFL Draft in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jones currently plays for the Oakland Raiders.
CASE KEENUM: QB: Even though he’s made a huge impact both personally and professionally in the NFL, FCA 2010 cover feature Keenum was not drafted as a college player, but instead was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans in 2012. Keenum has been with several teams in as many years and is starting his newest stint with the Washington Redskins. In March, Keenum talked about his faith, his connection with FCA and his journey in the NFL for a story on Redskins.com.