Spring 2021 Magazine

Justin Fields enters NFL draft 'thanks to God's grace and mercy'

Another likely entrant into the 2021 NFL Draft made it official on Monday as Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields announced on social media he will not be returning to Columbus.

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In the post, Fields thanked God for providing him with the friends and family members who have helped guide him along his journey.

“God blessed me with the greatest support system anyone could have,” Fields wrote. “My parents have sacrificed any and everything to put me in a position to follow my dreams. I can never truly repay them, but I hope I’ve made them proud; I will continue to strive daily to be a ‘light on the hill,’ as I was raised.”

Fields, who is an outspoken Christian, threw for 5,373 yards, 63 touchdowns and just nine interceptions in two seasons as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback. Ohio State never lost a regular-season game with him under center and reached the College Football Playoff both years.

Despite taking a massive hit to his ribs in the second quarter of the CFP semifinal, Fields set set a Sugar Bowl record with six touchdown passes in the Buckeyes’ 49-28 victory over Clemson that earned them a spot in the 2020-21 national championship game.

The two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and 2019 Heisman Trophy finalist took to Twitter to praise God after the win. He produced 261 yards of total offense and tossed a touchdown pass in the 52-24 loss to Alabama in the title game.

As the No. 1 recruit in the country’s class of 2018 according to ESPN, Fields originally enrolled at Georgia and backed up fellow Christian Jake Fromm. He decided to transfer to Ohio State after one season in Athens.

The Kennesaw, Georgia, native nearly changed his mind though. Homesick after arriving on Ohio State’s campus, Fields called his dad, Pablo, and asked him to come get him so he could re-enroll at Georgia. Pablo advised him to give it some time and keep relying on God.

“He just told me to stay in it, to pray about it and just trust in God,” Fields said in a 2019 interview with the Columbus Dispatch. “It was crazy because the next day I met a few friends, and I felt comfortable from there.”

What transpired was one of the most prolific pair of seasons by an Ohio State quarterback ever, leading to Fields being regarded as one of the top prospects in April’s draft. He is projected to be taken early in the first round, possibly as high as second overall behind Trevor Lawrence, the quarterback he beat in the Sugar Bowl.

Fields ended his announcement Monday by expressing gratitude to God for allowing him to be in a position to realize his dream of playing in the NFL.

“Growing up, my dream was to one day play the game that I love at the highest level,” Fields said. “Now thanks to God’s grace and mercy, along with the help of you all, I am in a position to turn that dream into reality.”

As his fame has risen, Fields has sought to remain humble. He regularly competes while wearing wristbands that say “Humble Over Hype,” which is a nonprofit organization “seeking to create humility in generation after generation through the spiritual and moral development of athletes.” It’s guided by 1 Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.”

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