And just like that, quarterback C.J. Stroud is the new face of the Houston Texans.
They drafted the former Ohio State superstar second overall in the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday, believing he’s the guy who can help the team reach the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history.
When the pick was announced by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from the stage in Kansas City, Texans fans erupted in applause. Meanwhile, Stroud hugged his family in attendance and fought back tears as he made his way to join Goodell on stage.
Moments later, he was interviewed by ESPN’s Suzy Kolber.
CJ Stroud interview immediately after being drafted and putting the Houston Texans hat on for the first time.
Check out what the franchise has to say. pic.twitter.com/reHFp4jBR1
— V̷a̷t̷o̷r̷ (@Vator_H_Town) April 28, 2023
“God has battle-tested me,” Stroud said when asked how he felt when the Texans called. “… He’s scarred me, so I’ve been battle-tested. I have the armor of God on me. Everything I’ve been through has prepared me for this moment right here.”
In Houston, Stroud will take over a team that finished 3-13-1 (yet won two of the last three) and scored only 29 touchdowns a year ago, tied for the second fewest in the league.
Houston hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2019. Yet with the addition of Stroud — as well as linebacker Will Anderson Jr., whom the team traded up to No. 3 to select — Texans fans are excited for the future once again.
In his two seasons as a starter at Ohio State, Stroud completed 69.3% of his passes while throwing for 8,123 yards and 85 touchdowns. The Buckeyes went 22-4 with Stroud, winning the Rose Bowl two years ago and losing to eventual national champion Georgia by one point in the Peach Bowl (College Football Playoff semifinals) last season.
The Inland Empire, California, native was a Heisman Trophy finalist both years, finishing fourth in 2021 and third in 2022.
Stroud believes he can bring similar personal and team success to Houston, and the Texans front office agrees. However, Stroud didn’t flaunt any of those on-field numbers when asked why he deserved to be a top pick.
“One thing that I start with is just my foundation as a man where I’m a man of God,” Stroud told CBS Sports last month. “I want that to be known. I’m responsible, and I’m respectable, and I’m very mature for my age I feel. I had to kind of grow up fast growing up, so it kind of forced me to kind of be ready for these moments.”
Stroud hasn’t been shy to share about his faith since he’s been in the public eye. He recently told “Faith on the Field” host Rob Maaddi that his relationship with Christ developed in powerful ways after his father, who was a pastor, was arrested in 2015.
“When I got to college, I found Christ for myself,” said Stroud, who often played with the shape of a cross in one of his thigh pads. “It’s definitely something that I’m still learning to this day. I’m definitely not perfect. … It does keep me grounded; it does keep me humble just because I know anything can be stripped away at any point.”
God’s Glory… pic.twitter.com/HP8C5cW9JM
— CJ Stroud (@CJ7STROUD) October 4, 2021
Before his final season at Ohio State, he told the media it was his faith that motivated him in leadership.
“That’s what God has called me to do is be a leader,” he said. “So I definitely try to show love and let people know that whatever they’re going through or whatever they have been through, they’re not by themselves. They have help. They have inspiration. They can look up to me.”
Stroud also shares his faith via social media, where he describes himself as a “Follower of Christ” in his Twitter and Instagram bios. In his tweet declaring for the NFL draft, Stroud made sure to caption it with a Bible passage, Proverbs 3:5-6, and begin it with words of gratitude to God.
“First and foremost,” he wrote, “I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for blessing me with health, favor and opportunity.”
Proverbs 3:5,6 pic.twitter.com/FdA2ftqQFJ
— CJ Stroud (@CJ7STROUD) January 16, 2023
Now with a bigger platform and more pressure than ever before as the No. 2 overall pick of the Houston Texans, Stroud will seek to continue to rely on God and remain rooted in Him.
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