Top NFL Prospect finds Christ in College
By Shawn Brown
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is one of the top college quarterbacks in the country. Since he became a starter 2009, he’s led the Sooners to 3 bowl game victories and he’s become the school’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. Yet with all that success, it’s hard to believe that he once considered himself as nothing more than a failure.
“I grew up in church, but I actually didn’t really… I did accept Christ, but it was one of those things I didn’t walk it out. I didn’t know, really, who I was and what I stood for. I just felt like emasculated, felt like I wasn’t a man anymore, felt like I wasn’t good enough for people.”
Landry has been playing football since the 1st grade. By the time he was a senior in high school, he was a Friday night lights celebrity with the world at his finger tips. Things were going so well he felt he didn’t really need God. “It was always like, ‘Why? What’s the need? If I have everything that I want to have in this life, what’s the need for having God or anything like that?’”
Just before he graduated from high school, Landry committed to play for Oklahoma. That’s where a harsh reality set in. “I graduated high school early. So I came in the middle, in January, and all the guys in ’07 already had all their friends. Everybody kind of had their cliques going and stuff.”
But that was socially. It was even worse with football because Oklahoma already had a starting quarterback in #14 Sam Bradford, and Landry thought he would become a starter by just simply showing up. “My mindset was I was going to come in and start and kind of take Sam’s spot. And then I didn’t ever reach that goal. So it kind of shook me and it was hard to really comprehend and understand what was really going on with that whole deal.”
Shawn Brown, 700 Club Sports Reporter asks, “So, how did you handle that?”
“All my identity was in football, friends, and girls. And those were worldly things and not Kingdom things, you know. So, once those were taken away from me, I had nothing to fall back on.”
Landry threw himself into the party lifestyle looking to suppress what he was feeling.
Shawn: “It sounds as though you were trying to create the same atmosphere you had when you were in high school.”
“Right. Yeah, I just felt empty and just nothing—nothing fulfilled me anymore.”
It was around that time Landry met Whitney Hand, a rising basketball star at Oklahoma. “There was something inside of her that I kind of saw. There was a light inside of her. There was a joy that never seemed to run out. I started digging deeper and I found out that she was a Christian and that she had been walking her faith out.”
When Landry went home for Christmas break he couldn’t help thinking about Whitney and her faith. Being around his family again brought back memories of how he was raised. “All the things from my childhood about God and about how important having that relationship with Him came flooding back into my memory. And that’s kind of when God really grabbed my heart and was just kind of after me.”
Landry prayed and rededicated his life to the Lord. Soon everything began to make sense. “Every time I would pray I would just hear, ‘You’re My son. You’re a son of God.’ And that’s all He would say, ‘You’re my son. You’re my son and I love you.’ and ‘I’m proud of you.’ And that theme of ‘I’m a son of God’ was always what God was speaking to me in that first couple months when I started that relationship with him.”
Toward the end of the next season, senior quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a series of injuries just before leaving for the NFL. Landry was given his shot. “I was just like, ‘Teach me Lord. Mold me. Show me how to be a leader and show me how to lead these guys and show me why I play football. What’s my purpose in this sport?’ I started realizing in leadership roles and being a quarterback is kind of what God has put me in and molding men and showing them how to be men of God.”
Landry is now in his senior year in pursuit of his 4th bowl game championship with his eyes set on the NFL. If you’re wondering what ever happened to his friend Whitney Hand, they were married this past July. As a leader on the field and off, he says his number one priority is to model what it truly means to be a godly man.
“Whenever I think about Jesus, whenever I think about what he did for us on the cross, it’s—the word that always comes back to me is ‘I’m the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ And He is Truth. He is the way. He is life. So if you want life, you want truth, you find Jesus. And that’s all wrapped up in one Person.”
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