Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Oregon Ducks Quarterback---"All in for God"

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It wasn't surprising to college football fans that Oregon Duck quarterback Marcus Mariota was awarded the coveted 2014 Heisman Trophy as the country's best college football player.

Mariota also won a number of other football awards this year.

He will lead the Oregon Ducks in the Rose Bowl game tomorrow.

Given the controversy that often follows athletes who play sports at this level, it's refreshing to know that Mariota's character and faith run as deep as his talent on the gridiron.

His stats as a player are impressive to say the least.

CNS reports  that according to the Heisman Trophy website, Mariota led the nation in passing efficiency with a mark of 186.3 by completing 254 of his 372 passes for 3,783 yards and 38 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions. He also rushed for 669 yards, scored 14 times, and recorded one touchdown reception.

Mariota's total of 53 touchdowns ties the Heisman record for most touchdowns by a winner with St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford in 2008.

Mariota received the second-highest percentage of possible points in Heisman history with 90.92 percent, according to ESPN. Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith received 91.63 percent in 2006. Southern California running back Reggie Bush received 91.77 percent in 2005, but his victory was later vacated for NCAA rules violations.

But his interview with Fellowship of Christian Athletes is the most impressive to me.

The following interview was published in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes magazine:

FCA: How is your faith a part of you being a football player?

MM: Being a football player, faith plays a huge role. When things start to get rough you find comfort in your faith. Knowing that no matter what, you can dust yourself off and be okay. And you know you do it for [God’s] glory. You do it for your teammates, your family, but also for His glory and to represent His name.

FCA: Through the ups and downs of a season, how do you feel like your faith strengthens you?

MM: Going through the challenges of the season, my faith has been the steadying force that’s pushed me, along with my family, my friends and my teammates. Losing–especially here [at Oregon]–is tough. We have high expectations as a program to go and win national championships. It’s a huge pressure, but you learn a lot about yourself through it. Coach [Scott] Frost has helped me learn that football doesn’t define me. It’s just what I do. That was a huge life lesson for me. I really took that and ran with it. My faith is what keeps me going and I can always grow in that.

FCA: What comes to mind when you think about going “All In” for Christ?

MM: I think as an athlete when you’re able to go out there and have the abilities that the Lord has blessed you with, you want to glorify Him. You want to go out there to represent Him in the right light. To represent your family in the right light and to do that through His power.

FCA: How has FCA impacted your faith while at Oregon?

MM: FCA allows athletes to find a family away from home. You’re able to bond through your faith, as well as the difficult times in sports. We relate to each other as athletes and grow in our faith and as human beings.

FCA: What has God taught you about yourself while at Oregon?

MM: Since I’ve been here at Oregon, I think my faith has grown tremendously. In high school, I learned about God and Jesus Christ, but I wasn’t really invested in it. I think coming here I got involved with FCA and [FCA’s] Tony [Overstake] and it really introduced me into my walk and into my journey. I’m not perfect, but I’m encouraged everyday to continue to open up in my faith.

I’ve learned that no matter what, my faith will guide me. However I play on the field, I know my faith will guide me. After sports, my faith will guide me. As I’ve grown in my faith, that’s something that’s given me comfort. God has taught me that I can trust in Him. No matter what–whether things are good or bad–I know I can always trust in Him. And that has really allowed me to go All In for Him.

Be Faithful. Be Bold.