‘That’s What I Feel Called to Do’: Old Dominion QB Won’t Play Next Year, Will Attend Seminary to Become Evangelist

By Nancy Flory Published on December 28, 2018

A former walk-on quarterback who led Old Dominion University to a 49-35 victory over Virginia Tech in September has decided to hang up his cleats and become an evangelist.

Blake LaRussa announced Wednesday that he intends to waive his last year of eligibility at ODU and attend seminary next fall. 

“I love football,” said the redshirt junior from Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School in Virginia Beach. “I’ve always loved football. But this is something that I just feel God wants me to do. And it’s something I want to do. Waiting another year to start just didn’t make sense.” He will pursue his Master of Divinity degree.

LaRussa doesn’t want to pastor a church. “I don’t feel called to become a pastor. I want to go into evangelism. That’s what I feel called to do, to spread the word about Jesus.”

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Father Dan Beeman, former chaplain at Bishop Sullivan said that LaRussa has always been outspoken about his faith. “Blake’s not Catholic, but he was evangelizing students at Bishop Sullivan. He was very vocal about his faith, and would talk to anyone. He was the star quarterback of a state championship team, and yet there was nobody beyond his reach, nobody he wouldn’t talk to.

“I’m so proud of Blake,” Beeman continued. “He understands what God wants him to do and is willing to give up his last year of football to follow his calling. What a great statement that makes about this young man.”

ODU’s coaches are proud of LaRussa, too. Ron Whitcomb is ODU’s quarterback coach. “In 2014 we recruited Blake as hard as any scholarship QB, because we saw something special in him,” said Whitcomb. “He took a chance on Coach Wilder, myself and ODU. In saying all of that, those accomplishments combined don’t equal the respect I have for who Blake is as a person, and everything he has taught me.”

“Everyone associated with our program is very proud of Blake and the decision he has made for his future,” Coach Wilder said. “From the moment he walked on campus he represented our program’s ‘aim high’ philosophy.”

LaRussa doesn’t have any regrets going forward. “I am confident entering this next chapter of my life and excited to pursue what I have always known to be my heart’s greatest desire, and that is to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and help people find hope.”

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