Commitment. Discipline. Effort. Toughness. Pride.
Those are the five commandments of Alabama football. Those are the five commandments that have been instilled in me, and that have defined me, for the past three years. And as I write this letter, I find myself drawing on those commandments one more time.
It’s been almost four years, now, since the day I got the phone call that changed my life. A coach by the name of Nick Saban was on the line, wanting to ask about the chances of a Texas boy like me packing up for Tuscaloosa, and coming to play football at the University of Alabama.
I took my recruiting visit — and then never took another. It was just love at first sight between me and this program.
And it’s crazy to think about the journeys we’ve both been on since then.
As a competitor, I wanted badly to be a part of the dynasty that Coach Saban was building. I wanted to make my mark. I wanted to leave a LEGACY.
Was what happened in the 2018 National Championship Game bittersweet? Of course it was — it was a humbling experience. It was tough, man.
But I am even tougher for it. I AM BUILT FOR THIS.
I understand that God put those obstacles and challenges in my life for a reason. He wanted me to feel the pain I felt for a reason. He wanted me to understand the importance of never losing faith — and of always staying true to myself. He had NOT brought me this far just to leave me there.
“This isn’t something you’re stuck in,” I’d tell myself. “This is something you’re going through.” And one thing I can promise you is that I’m better off for having gone through it. Everything I dealt with at Bama: I’m stronger for it. I’m wiser. I’m a better man.
And for that I have so many people to thank. People who’ve made a deep and lasting impact on my life, just from their paths crossing with mine. People who have helped me, trained me, or flat-out raised me. Or even just believed in me.
Thank you, truly.
AP Photo, University of Alabama (5), USA Today Sports, Getty Images
I have graduated from the University of Alabama with my bachelor’s degree in public relations — and I couldn’t be prouder. This accomplishment means so much to me.
But the education that I received at Alabama goes beyond a degree. Coach Saban taught me the values and principles of business, as well as what it takes to be a great leader. My teammates taught me the importance of togetherness, brotherhood, and love. And this past season……. it taught me a lifetime’s worth of lessons about how to deal with adversity.
Now, I’m an alumnus of the University of Alabama.
Now I’m Bama for LIFE — and that right there will never change!
But now it’s also time for me to start a new chapter in my story.
I’ve decided to take my talents to the University of Oklahoma, where I will continue my development as both a quarterback and as a student.
I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I’m excited for the journey ahead.
Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports
One of the things that people always want to talk to me about is last month’s SEC Championship Game. They come up to me and say that it inspired them, or that they were rooting like crazy for me, or how they had been hoping all season that I would get another chance. They tell me how it was like a MOVIE, or that they’ve gotta make you a 30 for 30 now, you know, things along those lines.
But I just tell them back — that 30 for 30? You can bet on it. Only not anytime soon. Not yet. Because this story of mine….. it’s still just getting started. There are movie moments still to come.
Growing up, I never thought I’d get to where I am today as a 20 year old. And I dang sure never thought I would have the power to positively impact so many people, and especially kids, across the nation like I do now. It’s a huge honor…. but it’s also a huge responsibility. Not everyone in this life gets the chance to be a role model. And that’s why I’m on this mission: to be the best player, leader, and man that I can be. I know everything will unfold according to God’s timing. I am blessed to be where my feet are; my trust is in his hands.
So to my about-to-be family in Norman, I truly appreciate you for bringing me on board. Y’all don’t know me yet……… but just for now, to introduce myself: I’m a motivated coach’s son from the Eastside of Houston, and I love to play ball.
And to my Bama family, once again, THANK YOU — for everything. It’s been a great three years. I’ll love you until the end of time!