By Christi Mays
When Nicholas McDaniel came to UMHB, his plan was set. He would work hard enough to make the varsity football team as a freshman, and he did! But God had even bigger plans for him.
Nicholas, now a junior, felt called to ministry in eighth grade. Throughout high school, he found himself speaking at church, interning, and volunteering—really focusing on developing himself to pursue his calling. When he headed to college, he told his friends and family: “God first, education second, and football third.”
When he arrived at fall football camp, Nicholas was shocked to learn there were 23 linebackers—the same position he played—and usually only four to six made varsity. He knew he had a lot of work to do.
“I wanted all the success from the football program,” he said. “I wanted all it had to offer.”
That fall of 2020, COVID-19 cases continued to rise and the fall football season was postponed to the following spring. Nicholas had worked hard, moving up from third-string to second-string. As a freshman, he had made it onto the varsity team and was actually getting play time; he was ecstatic!
“But one day I realized that ‘God first, education second, and football third’ had all flipped around and football had become my life,” Nicholas said. “One night, I was sitting in my room praying about the upcoming season, and out of nowhere, I heard God say, ‘this season isn’t for you.’”