Almost four years ago I chose to leave the comfort of Nashville and the southern football-loving culture with which I was so familiar. In doing so, I was taking a chance to pursue the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the greatest university in the world. At that time, I wasn’t making a decision predicated on the next four years, but on the next forty years. This January I found myself in the similar position of making a long-term decision. I could continue to play football or I could move on to pursue new passions and opportunities.
I came to Stanford for a multitude of reasons. At Stanford I am surrounded by professors, TAs, teammates, and friends who refuse to doubt — young men and women who dream and take chances. I watched and learned how to balance life in ways that only make sense in Silicon Valley. Stanford has empowered me beyond my wildest dreams. After wrestling with this decision for the last several weeks, I feel a strong sense of empowerment to do something different — to chase my dreams and opportunities outside of football.
The achievements of my senior class are a direct result of our unity and dedication to making our dreams a living reality. Three PAC-12 Championships, victory in two out of three Rose Bowls, and a dynasty program — The Kings of California! The brotherhood that I experience with these men is unlike anything that I ever knew existed — a collection of young men who pushed each other to be all that we knew we could be. We built friendships that transcended what I knew about friendship. The type of brotherhood you watch someone try to portray in films like 300 and The Goonies.
I have come to love and respect Stanford as my home. I am proud of what it stands for and honored to know those who stand for it. This place is unique in many ways: the perfect weather, beautiful campus, and world-class education are just a microcosm of Stanford’s depth. The people are what make this place so special. I love football, but I played the game for my teammates. They have inspired me not only on the field, but most importantly in the game of life.
This is the biggest step in my journey, because it’s the next step. I will carry the lessons football has taught me forever.
Thank you Stanford University! I am incredibly thankful for the people that make this community the utopia it is. Thank you Coach Shaw for giving me the opportunity to come here. Thank you Coach Bloomgren for four great years. Thank you Coach Turley — you have been one of the biggest influences on my life. Playing for this coaching staff was a blessing that I could not fully understand until meeting with Coach Shaw about my recent decision. These men have not just developed me in to an accomplished player, but more importantly they have spent the last 6 years investing in me as a person, as well.
Stanford wasn’t just the best four years of my life — it prepared me for the best forty years of my life.
Thank you with all my heart, Go Cardinal!