Before my redshirt sophomore year began there were some QB position changes and transfers, and yet I was somehow further down on the depth chart than I was a year earlier.


Two new quarterbacks played the first six games as I didn't throw a single pass. It was only because both guys got injured that I ended up as a starter.


Our team was slightly better than we were the year before, at 2-3 and 1-1 in Pac-12 play at that point, but I unfortunately picked up right where I left off. When I took the field for the Utah game, I was 5-9 before getting benched and we lost 19-14. I still got to start the next game, but couldn't find the end zone and threw two interceptions.


That's when my perseverance finally started to pay off. We lost the next game 35-31 against Washington State, but I threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns with no picks. I started the next two games against Stanford and UCLA, and although we lost those games, I could tell I was progressing. We finished the year with wins over Arizona and Oregon, which marked the first time in eight years we beat our in-state rival.


I was ready to lead the program to new heights in 2017. Or so I thought.


Over the offseason, OSU signed a new QB, a 6-7 quarterback who was an All-American at the Junior College level. On August 1 of last year, only a week into Fall Camp, he was named as our starting quarterback.


That news was really difficult to take and hit my teammates just as much if not more. Throughout my time at OSU, as I bounced up and down the depth chart, people would ask me how I felt about my status with the program. And each time, my answer was the same: I want to stay in Corvallis.


Here's the thing though – God doesn't need you to stay in a bad situation to prove your loyalty or resiliency. Sometimes going in a new direction is exactly what God has planned for you.


I made the decision to transfer, and because I had already earned my bachelor's degree at that point, I was eligible to play at immediately wherever I decided. What's ironic is that the place I ultimately chose was literally the last place I would have gone out of high school.

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Thomas Hager