Fall 2021 SS Magazine

5 College QBs to Watch in 2021: Iowa State's Brock Purdy living for Christ, discipling others

Leading up to the 2021 football season, Sports Spectrum will highlight
five Christ-following college quarterbacks to watch in 2021.

Heading into his senior season, Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy already owns or shares 25 program records. His 23 wins are the most in Iowa State history and he broke his own record by completing 66.6 percent of his passes last season.

The Cyclones were one of the biggest surprises of the COVID-impacted 2020 season, going 9-3 and advancing to the Big 12 championship game, losing to Oklahoma by six. They finished ninth in the AP poll, marking the first time in program history they were ranked higher than 19th at the end of a season.

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“It was just unexpected, with everything from spring break all the way through the season,” Purdy said earlier this month on the Sports Spectrum Podcast about the unusual 2020 season. “It was different for sure, but I feel like just the lead-up to the season, how we prepared as a team, was really different.”

Iowa State recovered from a season-opening loss to Louisiana-Lafayette and won eight of its next nine games. Purdy became the first Cyclone quarterback to earn first team all-conference honors since 1981.

He was also named Offensive MVP of the team’s 34-17 victory over Oregon in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, completing 20 of 29 passes for 156 yards while throwing one touchdown and running for another.

 

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A post shared by Brock Purdy (@brock.purdy13)

“As the season went on, what we believe in as a team, our culture here, really was evident to really the whole country, and so I feel like we were able to do things that other people and other teams couldn’t because of our chemistry and our culture,” he said.

The Cyclones will look to replicate the success in 2021, Purdy’s final college season. He’s already among the top QB prospects for the 2022 NFL Draft, and his stock would only rise with another stellar season.

Should he become a pro athlete, he’d follow in his dad’s footsteps. Shawn Purdy is a former pro baseball player who pitched for eight seasons in the minor leagues. And Brocks’s two siblings are excellent athletes in their own right. His brother, Chubba, is a quarterback at Florida State and his sister, Whitney, played softball at Southeastern University.

All the Purdy children were raised in a Christian home, which laid the foundation for their faith. Then, when Brock contracted mononucleosis during his junior year of high school, he developed a faith that was independent of his parents. He leaned on God as he watched players receive scholarship offers without getting any of his own.

Purdy joined Fellowship of Christian Athletes that same year and is now part of a discipleship group within the Iowa State team. When the Gilbert, Arizona, native arrived on campus and struggled one day during the first week of fall camp, he got on his knees and asked God to forgive him for allowing football to take the focus away from his relationship with Christ.

“It was just a great reminder of where my identity is, where it lies,” he said. “And it’s in Jesus. And I continue to lean on Him. Again, the next day I didn’t go out and throw for 500 yards and was this awesome quarterback, but it was just this peace that I had with Him knowing that, ‘Hey, no matter what I’m going to face moving forward during college football, God and Jesus are going to be my identity. And whatever I face, I won’t be shaken from it.’ I’ve got a great foundation in Him.”

 

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Playing during a pandemic, where health and safety regulations limited the amount of time Purdy could spend around people, turned out to be both a challenge and a blessing.

“For me, it was good to be able to step back with my faith and everything, take time, dive into the Word more than ever,” he said. “I think that was a blessing in disguise, really. It was different but we handled it I think in the right way and we’re ready to get going for the 2021 season as well.”

Purdy and the Cyclones kick off the season on Sept. 4 when they host Northern Iowa at 4:30 p.m. ET.

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