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College Athlete Discovers Purpose Beyond the Football Field

Virginia Tech running back Sam Rogers shares his experience of finding identity in something much more rewarding than college football. Read Transcript


NARRATOR: Virginia Tech fullback Sam Rogers

helps to solidify the Hokies' run game.

He earned the starting job as a freshman walk on in 2014.

And last season he was second in rushing yards for the team.

With a new head coach he's looking

to expand on that this season.

He says though he's seen some success,

he's learned not to allow what happens on the football field

to define who he is.

I may love football, but it doesn't necessarily

love me back.

I've had some injuries that have set me back.

When you find your identity in football and in your sport

it's going to let you down, it's going to leave you hurt.

Jesus doesn't do that.

He doesn't let you down.

NARRATOR: That's a lesson Sam learned while in high school.

He became a Christian at an early age but says at the time,

he wasn't all in and went through the motions

because that's what was expected of him.

To the church.

I mean, I could kind of give you all the right answers.

Like if you asked me who God was I could tell you,

if you asked me who Jesus was, I'd

tell you he died for my sins.

But it was kind of just that surface level kind of stuff.

And I'm a people pleaser, I would say,

so I try to please my friends, my parents, my parents friends.

NARRATOR: As a result Sam didn't know

how to prioritize his faith over football.

My sport was my God.

I think that was the most important thing to me.

And I found that out when I wouldn't succeed in my sport

and how I'd respond when I wouldn't succeed.

I mean, it would crush me if I didn't do well.

NARRATOR: In fact, it crushed him

so much that he began taking it out on those around him.

Until I got another chance to fix it I wouldn't be OK.

I wouldn't treat people the right way.

And I wouldn't be happy about anything.

I definitely think sports kind of

took over in that way for me.

NARRATOR: But Sam's junior year, his heart began to change.

A couple people, through Young Life, actually,

and FCA and things like that, people really started

talking about who Jesus was.

And it really sort of hit me, like, what he did for me.

And the gospel kind of took like a whole new picture

in my head of, man, this guy really came down

to die for me personally.

It became more of a personal relationship.

And through that, I mean, he just

kept taking control of my heart.

NARRATOR: So Sam decided it was time to fully give

his life to the Lord.

I think it just-- I think it just happens in your heart.

When you're saying, all right, I'm going to do this for real.

And I remember praying a prayer, something like this, like,

God, I don't know if I'm already saved,

but I want to know that I am.

And I know that you died for me.

And I have never said this before-- I fully

accept this gift.

From that moment on it's really been very important to me.

And God just kept drawing me in and in the midst

of my sin in the midst of my struggles he still loved me.

And that's a-- just his grace has kept me.

NARRATOR: Sam had a stellar high school career but not

many scholarship offers.

Late in his senior year Virginia Tech

offered him a preferred walk on spot.

So I decided I felt more at home here when I came

to Virginia Tech on campus.

I decided to come here and, you know,

I was able to start right away and come here

and I ended up winning fullback spot and, you know,

started as a freshmen.

NARRATOR: Since becoming a Hokie,

Sam hasn't wavered in his commitment to his faith.

He regularly attends Bible study and events

sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes

to make sure he keeps God as the center

of every aspect of his life, especially football.

And he wants to share this message with the world.

I can't guarantee success as the world puts it.

And I don't think the Bible says that.

But I can guarantee that God is going

to be with you through it all.

Through the highs and lows.

And you're not going to have any better peace than with Jesus.

And when my identity comes from that,

there's so much peace that comes with that.

And you're going to realize that's what you've been looking

for the whole time.

I realized that.

I've played in front of 70,000, 110,000 people before.

And I scored touchdowns in front of that many people.

And there's nothing that compares to the satisfaction

coming with Jesus.

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