Fresno State University quarterback and Heisman trophy hopeful, Derek Carr, has earned the recognition for the collegiate football award based on his merits on and off the field, which he credits his Pentecostal faith upbringing for.
Carr is one of 16 players from among all National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) divisions and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to be nominated for the award that is considered to be the most sought-after accolade in American collegiate athletics.
His grandparents, who are Pentecostal pastors, are among the great influences in his life who he says taught him to walk in his faith along with his parents. Prior to becoming a known athlete, Carr admits he drifted from his grandparents' teachings before realizing that his life was incomplete.
"I've lived the other life. And I've lived the life the Bible teaches. I can tell you right now I am more sturdy and more stable. And I've got a lot more joy and peace," said Carr, in an interview with Fresno-based KFSN-TV.
According to his coach, Tim DeRuyter, Carr's faith has made him excel as a team player and leader while adding that he encourages other team members to take after Carr's faith-based outlook.
"As the head football coach I want our guys to examine spirituality in their lives and I talk to our guys about it all the time. It can't be something that we drive. But through Derek's leadership and the way he lives his life, I think he draws people to his faith," said DeRuyter.
Carr hails from a line of athletic family members, two being his brothers who played college football while one was drafted into the National Football League and played for teams like the Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants.
While most of his teammates are single and focused on football and school, Carr focuses on his wife, Heather, and their newborn son in addition to those responsibilities.
He met Heather during his freshmen year at a time where he says he lacked a strong stance in his walk of faith. But as their relationship progressed, Carr was able to restart his spiritual walk again.
"The first thing he told me was what he wanted in a wife. I thought, 'he knows what he wants.' He shared his faith, we shared the same interests. We shared the same faith," said Heather.
However, she says the true demonstration of his faith was evident during the birth of their baby who underwent intestinal surgery soon after being born.
"I always knew that his faith was number one, but I really saw it when he was at the hospital when he was praying over us and how strong he was," said Heather.
Although, football is a major part of Carr's life, he is also outspoken about his main priorities which he says will remain his faith and family.
"I'm going to be a husband and a father and a brother a lot longer than I'm going to be a quarterback. Someday they're going to take my jersey away," he concluded.
Carr is currently in his final year at Fresno State and hopes to get drafted into the NFL.