Summer 2024

Family's advice to NFL draft prospect Zech McPhearson: Keep God first

Former Penn State and Texas Tech standout cornerback Zechariah McPhearson, who goes by Zech, is giving a new meaning to the idea of coming from a family of athletes.

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His dad, Gerrick, played at Boston College and earned a tryout with the New England Patriots. Kim, his mom, was a member of the Baltimore Burn of the former National Women’s Football League.

It doesn’t stop there though. All seven of McPhearson’s siblings have played sports at the collegiate level. Two have been drafted, one by the New York Giants and one by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Another had a stint in the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league system. A fourth brother played in the Canadian Football League.

It’s safe to say McPhearson’s family understands the draft process and what life as a professional athlete is like. And when asked recently by CBS Sports what advice they had for Zech as he waits for his name to be called, there was a clear theme in his family’s responses: Keep God first.

“My advice to my son is for him to continue to put the Lord first, and stay humble!” Kim said.

His brother, Jeremiah, echoed the same sentiment: “As a big brother, I would tell him to keep going forward — keep his same mentality and mindset but just always add more wisdom and keep God first in his life, and all will be well.”

Two more of McPhearson’s siblings, his brother Emmanuel and his sister Kimberley, mentioned keeping God first as well.

When Zech announced in December he was declaring for the NFL draft, he acknowledged God as the one in control of the next part of his journey: “I am excited for this next chapter in my life and ready to see what God has in store for me next,” he wrote in a Twitter post.

After appearing in nine games in two years at Penn State, McPhearson transferred to Texas Tech prior to the 2019 season. He played in all 12 games for the Red Raiders, collecting 51 tackles and defending five passes.

The Columbia, Maryland, native took his game to another level this past season, picking off four passes and earning a place on the All-Big 12 first team. His performance has drawn the praise of multiple draft analysts, some of whom believe he could be one of the steals of the draft.

Wherever he ends up getting picked, McPhearson knows he will have a family filled with other high-level athletes to provide guidance and make sure his priorities are in the right order. He sees this exciting time as a jump from one part of God’s plan for his life to another, all of which has already been laid out.

“What excites me most is my new transition, my new season in life,” McPhearson told CBS. “To know that I’m walking on that path God has predestined for me, before I even knew it, gets me going! I am ready and prepared to take this next step.”

The NFL draft gets underway from Cleveland, Ohio, at 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

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