Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Trey Lance maintains his identity as a child of God as his NFL journey begins

Former North Dakota State quarterback and projected top-five draft pick Trey Lance has left no doubt as to what he believes his ultimate identity is.

Three words are tattooed across his back and listed in both his Twitter and Instagram bios: Child of God.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

“Football is not who I am, it’s what I do,” Lance told Yahoo Sports back in September. “I’m obviously going to put everything possible into it because that’s what I love to do. But at the end of the day, I think God put that in my plan to use it as my platform.”

One of the most hotly-debated and intriguing prospects in Thursday’s NFL draft, Lance started 17 games at North Dakota State. In 2019, he completed 66.9 percent of his passes with 28 touchdowns and no interceptions as the Bison went 16-0 and won the FCS national championship.

The last time Lance took the field was Oct. 3, when he participated in the team’s lone game in the fall season. He threw for 149 yards and rushed for 143 yards in a 39-28 win over Central Arkansas, producing four total touchdowns and throwing the first interception of his college career.

It should not be long before the Marshall, Minnesota, native hears his name called on Thursday night. The San Francisco 49ers, who have the No. 3 pick, are reportedly deciding between Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones.

The lack of game film and lesser competition he faced have some talent evaluators worried, though being doubted is nothing new to Lance.

He had dreams of staying close to home and playing at the University of Minnesota, but the Golden Gophers were only interested in him as an athlete. Lance was set on playing quarterback. In the end, he was not offered a scholarship by any Big Ten program.

North Dakota State wanted him as a quarterback, which is how he ended up in Fargo. He won the starting job as a redshirt freshman and quickly became one of the top quarterback prospects in the country.

Lance’s faith has helped him stay grounded during his rise to stardom. In addition to the tattoo on his back, he has three crosses on his right shoulder and “Romans 8:28” written in words and Roman numerals on his chest.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” — Romans 8:28

In high school, he emerged as a leader in his local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter.

“[Lance’s] identity is not being a football player,” Southwest Minnesota FCA staff member Robin Knudson told Yahoo. “It comes from something greater. That helps him stay grounded.”

Lance is already thinking about ways to continue to use his platform in the NFL. He does not want to be defined only by what he does on the field.

“As far of my platform at the next level, [I’m] just realizing that we’re not put on Earth to be football players or to be doctors or lawyers or whatever it is,” Lance said in the same interview with Yahoo.

Lance is one of 13 players who is scheduled to attend the draft, which begins at 8 p.m. ET, in person. Another 45 prospects, including projected No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, will participate virtually.

RELATED STORIES:
As fame grows and NFL awaits, NDSU QB Trey Lance is grounded in faith
Matt Entz seeks Christ as he leads North Dakota State football dynasty
Trevor Lawrence declares for NFL draft, calls his faith the ‘most important thing’
Dabo Swinney says ‘good Lord was in a good mood when He made’ Trevor Lawrence
Justin Fields enters NFL draft ‘thanks to God’s grace and mercy’