The NCAA College Football season is in full swing, with the College Football Playoff Selection Committee having already met twice to rank the top-25 teams in the nation and to give the college football fan base a glimpse at which teams have a shot to make this season’s four-team College Football Playoff.
In the mix this year are the teams of two Heisman hopefuls: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (ranked third in the nation) and their featured running back Josh Adams and the Oklahoma State Cowboys (ranked fifteenth in the nation) and their quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Both Notre Dame’s Josh Adams – and his family – and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph have relied on God and prayer for their success in football.
Josh Adams “averages 8.7 yards per rush for a run-centric Notre Dame offense that includes five players with more than 30 carries this season,” reads ESPN. “The man dubbed ‘Dickerson’ by Irish defensive backs coach Todd Lyght – a comparison to Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson – supplies highlights in bunches, like a 77-yard scoring run against NC State when he was clocked at 22.37 mph. Adams also shows strength and power, recording 852 of his 1,191 yards after contact for the third-ranked Irish, who visit No. 7 Miami on Saturday (ABC and ESPN App, 8 p.m. ET).”
Things haven’t always looked this good for Adams.
According to ESPN, Josh Adams made his was back from what is “called the ‘unhappy triad’ in the sports medicine world: a torn ACL, a torn meniscus and a torn MCL. Adams narrowly avoided the triad, tearing the first two ligaments and severely spraining the third in a game near the end of his junior year of high school.”
But, reported ESPN, Adams did not let that get him down:
“‘I looked back at my life and how hard everybody in my family worked,’ Adams said. ‘I wanted to do the same thing. Through a lot of prayer and discussions with my mom and dad, I made my mind up to attack this thing with everything that I had.’”
“I think God has given Joshua a double portion to not make up for the loss,” said Josh Adams’ mother Apryll about the son she lost (Aaron) in her fifth month of pregnancy, “but to carry on a destiny that was cut short. God allowed him to go in a good way, to mature and to blossom into what we see today.
“And he’s not done,” she concluded.
Mason Rudolph, quarterback for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, according to ESPN, has thrown for 3,314 yards on 330 attempts with a completion percentage of 63.3 percent in 2017. On the season he has averaged 10.04 yards per reception and totaled 27 touchdown passes, having only thrown seven interceptions. Rudolph holds a passer rating of 170.4.
But Rudolph knows it’s not his talent alone that got him into this position. When Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) asked Rudolph in FCA Magazine, “Why do you feel God put you in this specific position in sports?” Rudolph responded:
“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. 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.”
Rudolph admits his relationship with God also impacts his approach to the game, particularly during the season.
“It seems like during the season you just naturally become more emotional and closer to God because you’re thinking about Him, you’re more anxious, you’re more nervous,” said the Cowboys signal caller to FCA. “You have to turn to him with those nerves and emotions and just lean on Him and trust that He’s going to protect you and keep you safe.
“Christ is at the center of it,” Rudolph continued. “It’s Christ who will always be there for you; He’s your foundation. So just getting in the Word and leaning on a few of my life verses throughout the week, as well as constant communication with my parents, my grandparents—that’s my secret to success.”
Josh Adams and Mason Rudolph currently sit at number 5 and number 8 respectively in the Heisman Watch ESPN Experts’ Poll. Adams has two third place votes, four fourth place votes and two fifth place votes. Rudolph has one fourth place vote and two fifth place votes.