When the top two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft saw their lifelong dreams come true over the weekend weekend, both quarterbacks credited the success to their faith.
Alabama’s Bryce Young, picked first by the Carolina Panthers, and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, picked second by the Houston Texans, were two of the most dynamic playmakers in college football last season. But they’re also well-known for the significant role that faith plays on and off the field.
“I’m blessed to have the family that I do that introduced me [to faith] when I was young,” Young said in an interview with Sports Spectrum last year. “Throughout my life, my relationship has grown with the Lord and my faith has improved. Through that, I work to be the best version of myself that I can be and to embody Christ in all that I do.”
Young will most likely start right away for the Panthers, whose new coach, Frank Reich, is a former quarterback with a knack for developing the position. Reich, also well-known for his Christian faith, expressed how “impressed” he is with Young’s work ethic.
For Young, as important as it is to grow in his first year as an NFL quarterback, his faith will remain his top priority.
“At the end of the day, what motivates me and pushes me is to model myself after the Lord,” Young said. “I definitely have a lot of work to do. There’s a lot of things I want to improve on as a person, as a player, throughout all aspects of my life.”
Stroud and Young, both from California, are close friends and have competed against each other since middle school. The two formed a strong bond at a football camp they attended before they both debuted as the starters for their historic college programs.
Bryce Young & CJ Stroud are what we all wish as kids to be with our friends
— ???? (@Goaty_Szn) April 29, 2023
While Stroud faces a tough challenge in turning around one of the NFL’s worst teams from last year, he finds confidence in his faith.
“God has battle-tested me. He’s scarred me, so I’ve been battle-tested,” Stroud said in an interview with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber just moments after his name was called on draft night. “I have the armor of God on me. Everything I’ve been through has prepared me for this moment right here.”
Stroud, like Young, credits his “foundation” in the faith for where he is today.
“One thing that I start with is just my foundation as a man where I’m a man of God. I want that to be known,” Stroud said in an interview with CBS Sports last month. “I’m responsible, and I’m respectable, and I’m very mature for my age I feel. I had to kind of grow up fast growing up, so it kind of forced me to kind of be ready for these moments.”
When the new Texans quarterback first announced his plans to enter the draft, he made sure to honor Christ first.
Proverbs 3:5,6 pic.twitter.com/FdA2ftqQFJ
— CJ Stroud (@CJ7STROUD) January 16, 2023
“First and foremost, I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with health, favor and opportunity,” he wrote, along with a reference to the Bible verse, Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”