Georgia, Alabama Players Share with FCA How They ‘Passionately Pursue Christ’ in Advance of Tonight’s National Championship
Fellowship of Christian Athletes Magazine Cover Feature Mason Rudolph Honored for Play and Character This Season
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Players and coaches prepping for tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship have many physical and mental considerations to make to be in tip-top form for perhaps the biggest game of their lives.
Several of these players are preparing spiritually as well, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) profiled both Georgia and Alabama players for the annual college football profile edition of FCA Magazine. The issue highlights the faith of 40 players and how they “passionately pursue Christ” both on and off the football field.
“All of us at FCA are excited to watch tonight’s College Football Playoff National Championship, and are especially honored to have profiled several players from both Georgia and Alabama,” said Clay Meyer, FCA Magazine editor. “The college football issue is a wonderful way to shine a light on the players who shine their light for Christ. The lessons these players have learned in passionately pursuing their gridiron goals also apply directly to their relationship with Christ, and being passionate about their faith is a wonderful example for young fans who are watching tonight’s game and perhaps dreaming about the colleges they may play for one day—and how they can also honor God through the sports they love.”
Vying for the national championship at 8 ET tonight in Atlanta will be No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 4 Alabama, airing on ESPN. Players from each of these championship-seeking teams shared with FCA the following comments about their faith:
- Jeb Blazevich—Georgia—“I pursue a relationship with Christ through spending quality time with Him. Without spending time every day with Jesus, listening and talking to Him, I can’t be the man I want to be.”
- Aaron Davis—Georgia—“I passionately pursue a relationship with Christ through the way I live my life. I feel like if I can serve as many people as I possibly can and study the Word, then I can continue to grow in my relationship with Him.”
- Minkah Fitzpatrick—Alabama—“I pursue a relationship with God by spending time in His Word and being in His presence. He is a relational God, so forming a relationship with Him is most important to me.”
- J.K. Scott—Alabama—“Jesus left Heaven—perfect communion and happiness with the Father—and died for me, just for a shot that I would even consider Him. Why would I not? Why would I hold on to what I think is my life when I really have nothing without Him?”
CBN News also brought attention to the fact that Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm gave God the glory for last week’s thrilling double-overtime win. “Praise God to be Rose Bowl Champions!!!!! #SmellTheRoses #DawgsOnTop #KeepChoppin” he tweeted. According to CBN, Fromm has been bold about his Christian faith throughout the season and has often tweeted Bible verses that point to the real source of his success on the field.
Additionally, CBN highlighted that campus ministries like FCA support, encourage and nurture college athletes in their faith. FCA leaders, CBN reported, understand the pressures that surround college players and help guide athletes in a strong walk with Christ, especially with the pressures of being a high-profile college standout.
As an example of living out that walk with Jesus, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph, who was featured on the cover of FCA’s college football issue, has been honored this season for his play on the field as well as his character and service off the field. Rudolph tells FCA that he passionately pursues a relationship with Jesus Christ “because I want to be a witness for Him and use this platform to impact our community. I think my faith has grown in every chapter of my life, especially in college.”
Yesterday, Rudolph was named the recipient of the 2017 Bobby Bowden Award, which is presented annually in conjunction with FCA to the Division I player who “epitomizes a student-athlete as he represents God, his family, his institution and his community,” reported OKState.com. Other criteria include that the honoree conducts himself as an exemplary model in the classroom, on the field, on the campus and in the community.
Rudolph is a regular participant in OSU’s Coaches vs. Cancer program and makes frequent appearances at local elementary schools and churches. Besides FCA, his volunteer work with numerous community organizations has included service with Coaches vs. Cancer, Read Across America, the YMCA, Tim Tebow’s Night To Shine Prom, Future Farmers of America, Grace Living Center (nursing home), Stillwater Medical Center, Nike N7, University Heights Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church, the Manning Passing Academy and more.
On the field, Rudolph finished the regular season as the leading passer in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the NCAA, both in terms of passing yards (4,553) and passing yards per game (379.4). He also leads the FBS in points responsible for per game (22.5). Rudolph is also a finalist for the inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award, which will be presented on Feb. 22. Alabama’s Fitzpatrick and Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin are also finalists.
Joining Rudolph as finalists for the Bobby Bowden Award were Micah Kiser of Virginia, Dorian O’Daniel of Clemson and Harrison Phillips of Stanford.
FCA also highlighted Phillips in its college football issue, where the senior defensive tackle said, “Jesus has always been the biggest priority in my life. I am forever grateful for the grace in which I was saved. I know that my day-to-day is directly impacted by Him, and I strive to get to know Him more and more every day to try to be a reflection of Him.”
He added that FCA has “always been there” for him. “I have been a strong believer my whole life, but in down times, like suffering a season-ending injury, it was my family away from home. My relationship with Jesus only grows deeper the more involved I get with FCA. I’m thankful for my role as co-president with our campus Huddle, encouraging others and learning more myself.” Watch a video profile featuring Phillips here.
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.