The South Central Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes held its “Night of Influence” banquet at the Ardmore Convention Center Tuesday night, and a packed house heard the message of faith from two of Oklahoma’s premier athletes.


The South Central Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes held its “Night of Influence” banquet at the Ardmore Convention Center Tuesday night, and a packed house heard the message of faith from two of Oklahoma’s premier athletes.

Plainview alum and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon and Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones were featured, and both testified to their faith in God and how FCA and their relationship with the Lord has grown over the past few years.

Blackmon was the first wide receiver to become the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. He won the Biletnikoff Award as the country’s most outstanding wide receiver and was voted a First-Team All-American. He had 111 receptions for 1,782 yards and 21 touchdowns and led the Cowboys to a win over Arizona in the Alamo Bowl.

Jones won the Sammy Baugh Award as college football’s top passer and best quarterback. He led the Sooners to the Big 12 Championship and a Fiesta Bowl victory over Connecticut. Jones passed for 4,718 yards and 38 touchdowns.

“It was a big transition for me going from Class 3A high school to Division I football,” Blackmon said. “The college game is a lot faster. I had defensive linemen running me down in college. So I thought I should run faster myself.

“I’m thankful I’ve had God in my life through all the changes I’ve had. In athletics, I get to travel to a lot of different places, and the Lord has been a part of helping me be successful.”

Jones came from small-town Artesia, New Mexico, and he realized early on that he was good in sports. But he said it wasn’t until recently that he managed to give the Lord the proper place in his life.

“I had a lot of success in high school sports,” Jones said. “I knew who Jesus was, but I did not respond to Jesus. Over the next few years things changed for me. We had some tough times at OU two years ago when we went 8-5, and I started to doubt myself. I partied a lot, and I tried to be popular. I ultimately realized that Christ could give happiness without me working for it.

“I felt like I had these chains weighing me down. But when I fully committed to God’s plan in my life, the chains started to fall off a few at a time,” Jones said. “This last year was special. We went 12-2 and won a BCS Bowl. All the time I realized that God had been with me in the valley and was now with me on the mountain top.”

Blackmon spoke of coaches who had made a difference in his life, especially his current head coach, Mike Gundy.

“Coach Gundy has always encouraged us in our walk with the Lord,” Blackmon said. “He pushes our being involved in FCA, and he wants us attending church. He reminds us that our relationship with God is important. It would be great if we could one day see everyone on our team involved in FCA and being active in church.”

Jones summed up his Christian walk up by comparing it to Jesus’ call to ministry.

“It’s all about identity,” Jones said. “It’s identity that determines who you are and who you will be. I believe the key to my success and the key to everyone’s success is simple: Always know who you are in Christ.”