There are five new Mormons in the NFL.
Everyone knew the two massive Mormon defensive linemen Ziggy Ansah (BYU) and Star Lotulelei (Utah) would go early in the NFL draft. Ansah went to the Detroit Lions and Lotulelei became a Carolina Panther.
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was taken by the San Diego Chargers in the second round.
Then, in the draft’s final round, Utah defensive end Joe Kruger was selected by Philadelphia with the 212th overall pick and while Southern Utah quarterback Brad Sorensen went 221st to San Diego.
Sorensen was the first SUU player to ever be drafted. He joins fellow rookie Te’o and safety Eric Weddle as Latter-day Saints on the Chargers’ roster. A native of Grand Terrace, Calif., Sorensen went on an LDS Church mission to Spain out of high school. The 6-foot-5 quarterback then spent one season at San Bernadino Valley Junior College before walking on at BYU in 2009. Sorensen transferred to SUU in 2010 and helped turn the Thunderbirds’ offense into one of the most prolific in the Football Championship Subdivision.
In a “Did-you-know?” Kruger profile on the Eagles’ website, Kruger says “his taste in music ranges from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Seal to classical piano songs.”
In college football news, UCLA coach Jim Mora offered praise to lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo in an article by ESPN.com’s Kevin Gemmell.
In the article, Mora describes how he went to Utah to re-recruit Su’a-Filo, who had just returned from his LDS mission. More came away impressed by Xavier and his family.
“He was our first priority,” Mora said in the article. “As a father, the first thing I noticed was his family. How tight they were. He was respectful and serious and he asked great questions. He wanted to know as much about us as we wanted to know about him. Everything about him and his family was impressive.”
Su’a-Filo jumped right in as a starter and earned first-team all-league honors in 2012. Mora has high expectations for the lineman in 2013.
“He’s special,” the coach said. “He was voted last year as a captain. He’ll be a captain again. … That’s the kind of impact he can make immediately.”
Finally, in the world of major league baseball, Jeremy Guthrie is playing great ball for the Kansas City Royals, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The Baltimore Orioles dealt Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies in Feb. 2012. He only played in 19 games before being traded to Kansas City in July.
Since then, Guthrie, who served an LDS mission in Spain, has thrived. He went 5-3 in 14 games with the Royals to close out 2012. So far this year he is 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA in six starts.
“The difference is he’s far better than I ever imagined he was,” Royals manager Ned Yost told the Baltimore Sun. “He still has a great fastball at 93 mph that he spots. And he can sink it, he can cut it. His slider is very good. His changeup is very good. I just think he’s comfortable in his surroundings.”