There’s an old African proverb that states, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

As I set to embark on a new chapter of my life, it’s humbling to reminisce on the support and belief that so many have showed me along my journey.

Like so many others, I’ve dreamt of playing in the NFL ever since I was young kid, lining up, playing the game I’ve always loved every Sunday.

There are nearly 74,000 student-athletes that strap on the pads and play college football at some level. The chance of making it to the NFL? Less than 1.5-percent.

Many guys have stories of how doubters have motivated them and how they’ve pushed through struggle.

For me? What has motivated me is the amount of support I’ve received from so many over the years.

My mom has been my biggest fan ever since I could put on a helmet. She did whatever is necessary to be there to support me and cheer me on. She helped me through the best and worst of times. She fueled my fire so I could make her proud.

My teammates and coaches, they saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself. They pushed me to be better ever single time I stepped on that field, in the weight room, watching film. Every single day, I was challenged to be the best.

This university and program challenged me more than I had ever been challenged before, but it made me into the person and player I am today. I leave with a diploma, three FCS playoff appearances and two championship rings.

For those reasons, I stand here today with a chance to play in the NFL. When I strap on that Chargers helmet and walk on to that practice field against some of the best players in the world, I’ll know it only happened for one reason and that’s because of the village that pushed me and raised me into the player and man I am today.