(Photo courtesy Ohio University)

The reason I was so desperate on that day was because it was years in the making. I played my first three years of high school ball in relative obscurity because my family lived in Canada. I grew up only about an hour away from Niagara Falls, but after not receiving any offers by the end of my junior year, I made the decision to move all the way to Alabama.

It was difficult, because I grew up close with my parents and brother, and now all of a sudden I was moving almost 1,000 miles away. They tried to visit when they could, but it was tough for me. I was homesick when they weren't around, but I was also aware that I had moved down there with a goal to accomplish.

People in Alabama love football as much as Canadians love hockey, and I hoped that playing in the South would increase my exposure to college coaches. Of course, I would still have to play well to earn any scholarship offers.

I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by great teammates, and as a team we got on a roll. By the end of September we were 6-0 and averaging 59 points a game. There weren't any offers at that point, but I just hoped that if we kept rolling the offers would eventually come in.

Our offense continued to score points, after we won the State Championship game, we finished the season with a perfect 13-0 record and by the grace of God I had thrown for 59 touchdowns and recorded just three interceptions. I also ran for another seven touchdowns, but I found myself in the same situation as I did a year earlier in Canada.

Something just wasn't adding up, and it was starting to wear on me. What did I come all the way here for? Why did I leave all my friends and family behind in another country? Just so I could end up back where I started? I felt like I had done everything I was supposed to do, but nobody wanted me on their D1 team.

It was around that time I clung to one of my favorite Bible verses - Isaiah 40:31. "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength," the verse says. "They will soar on wings like Eagles; they will run and not grow weary."

I didn't know why God brought me to Alabama, and I didn't know where I was going next, but I knew that all of this was being done for my good. I turned out to be right, but it would take yet another year before I would get to see God's plan. First, He needed to send me to Junior College.

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Thomas Hager