‘Faith over football’

Over the years, BYU has granted hundreds of requests from student athletes who want to take two years off to serve as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The university knows serving the Lord is more important than playing ball, and coaches have no problem with keeping scholarships on reserve and welcoming the athletes back after their spiritual odysseys.

But what about other universities?

College football programs outside the state of Utah are not as ready to accommodate future missionaries. To most coaches, postponing a football career to go far from home and campus, knock on doors and baptize believers is backwards, pointless and preposterous. Why would anyone in the prime years of his athletic ability spend two years away from the weight room and the football field, waste his talent and potential, abandon his team and disappoint fans?

But all the fears, risks and peer pressure were not enough to stop Xavier Su’a-Filo.

After one impressive season with UCLA football, Su’a-Filo is far from Westwood and far from football fall camp. He is now an LDS missionary.

As the Redlands (Calif.) Daily Facts newspaper put it, “In the end, Xavier Su’a-Filo chose faith over football.”

Read the rest of this story at universe.byu.edu
Comments and feedback can be sent to feedback@ldsliving.com