University of Alabama backup quarterback Jalen Milroe has a motto: “I’m more than an athlete — I’m a Christian athlete,” he says.
A four-star recruit out of Texas and a redshirt freshman this year, Milroe backs up the Crimson Tide’s Heisman Award-winning starting quarterback Bryce Young. Milroe says the quarterback position is all about leadership, a lesson he put into practice in Bama’s Oct. 1 victory over the University of Arkansas Razorbacks.
Less than five minutes into the second quarter of the Tide’s matchup against Arkansas in Fayetteville, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young injured his shoulder. Milroe entered the game, scoring one touchdown and passing for another in the second quarter. A 77-yard rush in the fourth quarter led to another Alabama touchdown. Milroe finished the game with four of nine passes completed for 65 yards, 91 rushing yards and one touchdown.
“That’s what I like about the quarterback position. You embrace that leadership role. You embrace trying to lead others,” Milroe told The Alabama Baptist.
But as exciting as winning football games may be, Milroe says his life is about so much more than football games, and his faith is very important to him.
‘More than athletes’
“I just want people to know that we’re more than athletes,” he said. “We’re student-athletes — we have things going on. Also, like myself and other people, we’re big on faith.”
Meeting with fellow Christian athletes is very important to Milroe. He attends the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where he gets to meet with other believers on a weekly basis.
“FCA is awesome,” he said. “It allows athletes to come together to be in the presence of the Lord. … It’s a great thing, great opportunity, a great time. We all enjoy it.”
He also said one of the benefits of FCA is that it preaches the Word and shows how to apply the Word to everyday life.
Football and faith are intertwined with Milroe.
Milroe’s Christian journey started in childhood through his family, growing up in church with his grandfather, a deacon, and his grandmother, who led a Bible study.
Milroe also played football, starting at 4 years old. Though he liked multiple sports, he was very active. Baseball was too slow for him, so he decided to concentrate on football. With his dad’s training help, Milroe became a star quarterback in high school.
Even as his sports star rose, he kept his mind and heart focused.
“When it came to my faith, it was important to me because that allowed me to walk with purpose, and it drove me to do other things beyond my sport,” he said.
Dream come true
Being more than an athlete was also important to Milroe when he was still at Tompkins High School in Katy, Texas.
“Going to high school, I wanted to change the atmosphere at Tompkins,” he said. “My goal in life is not to seek blessing but to be a blessing to other people. That’s what I took moving forward with my faith. I know God. I know who He is in me. Now [I want to] put who He is in me into other people. My ultimate goal is to invest in other people.”
Milroe dreamed of playing for Alabama as far back as he can remember, and he knew there was something special about the team. He saw the consistency and success of the Crimson Tide under head coach Nick Saban’s leadership.
Various college recruiters came to his high school to watch him play, but he got the most excited when an Alabama coach came to his high school to talk to him. Later, when he got the recruitment call from Alabama, both he and his parents were overjoyed.
“I still remember it like yesterday. I ran down the stairs, and I got the phone call. I got the offer. Alabama was my dream offer,” Milroe said. “I remember tearing up when I got the call. I told my mom and dad that I received the offer, and they were super excited.”
Leaning on God
Milroe credits God for helping him get through the tough times, both in football and in life.
“The Bible says, do not lean on your understanding … lean on the Lord through it all. That’s been big because here at Bama you’re challenged day in and day out. Sometimes you can get weary; sometimes you can waver away from your end goal,” he said.
“But you know that God has a purpose. God wants us to lean on Him through it all. Every day I’m challenged. No matter what, I know that I can lean on Him. Not only for the bad, but I can lean on Him [also] for good and thank Him.”
Milroe is also learning challenges can make a person stronger. He relies on Philippians 4:13.
“No matter what it is, He’s the one who strengthens me,” he said. “When you’re having a rough moment, when it feels like everything is against you, just know God is the One who is going to uplift you and push you to your ultimate — wherever you want to go.”
“Christ is who I can fall on no matter what it is — no matter the circumstance, no matter what’s going on. Christ is within me. With my faith, it honestly catapults me to what I want to do.
“There’s nothing I can’t do because of the Man above.”