Carolina Panthers' Star Lotulelei (96) runs a drill during practice in July. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

With a new football season comes a handful of new Mormons in the NFL. Star Lotulelei is with the Carolina Panthers; Ziggy Ansah plays for the Detroit Lions; Manti Te’o and Brad Sorensen are teammates with the San Diego Chargers. Lotulelei, a defensive tackle taken by the Panthers with the 14th pick in April’s draft, was recently featured in a Charlotte Observer article by Tom Sorensen. “He’s been everything … Continue reading»

Nic Purcell during minicamp at the NovaCare Complex. (USA TODAY Sports)

If Nic Purcell manages to make the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster this fall, it could be one of the greatest underdog, feel-good stories in a long time. Purcell, a 6-foot-6, 305-pound, offensive tackle from Auckland, New Zealand, didn’t set foot on a football field until he was 24. Now at age 27, he’s been given a chance to play in the NFL. Here’s a summary of his unique story. … Continue reading»

BYU football linebacker Kyle Van Noy,  Monday, March 18, 2013, in Provo.

Few believed linebacker Kyle Van Noy would return to BYU for his senior year after his dominant performance in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl victory over San Diego State. Why risk an injury, a drop in draft stock or a moment of weakness with the honor code, some have questioned? Dennis Dodd, a senior college football columnist for CBSSports.com, recently wrote an article featuring Van Noy and his decision … Continue reading»

Mormon athletes are leaving their sports to serve missions

Former Desert Hills hurdler Brad Wulfenstein signs his National Letter of Intent to compete for BYU. (St. George Spectrum)

Since LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson’s historic missionary announcement at the October 2012 general conference, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of young men and women applying to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That includes athletes with promising college careers in their respective sports. Desert Hills High (St. George, Utah) champion hurdler Brad Wulfenstein recently signed a letter of intent, agreeing … Continue reading»

College football coach called as Mormon bishop

Nicholls State University assistant football coach Justin Anderson (center) was called to serve as bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Houma-Thibodaux (La.) area on April 21. Also pictured are church counselors Richard Stock (left) and James Simmons.

An assistant college football coach has been called to serve as the leader of a congregation in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Louisiana. Justin Anderson, 35, a wide receivers coach at Nicholls State University since 2010, will serve as the bishop of an LDS ward in the Houma-Thibodaux area. The former BYU receiver told Brent St. Germain, sports editor of Houmatoday.com, that he will continue in … Continue reading»

Southern Utah QB Brad Sorensen runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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 … Continue reading»

A roundup of Mormons in Rugby

Lagi Setu, just back from an LDS mission,  wants to play consistent football for the Melbourne Storm. (Photo by George Salpigtidis)

Australia loves its rugby players. That includes Mormon rugby players. Lagi Setu, recently returned from his LDS mission, was recently featured in Brisbane’s Couriermail.com.au. Setu has been working to regain his pre-mission form for the Melbourne Storm despite whispers from doubters. He doesn’t want to be known as “that Mormon guy.” He wants to earn a reputation for playing hard in competition. “Everyone does just think of me … Continue reading»

Paul Kruger, Mormon NFL players and the off-season circus

Former Baltimore linebacker Paul Kruger (99) sacks Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck in the 2012 playoffs. Kruger just signed with the Cleveland Browns. (AP)

Paul Kruger just became a very rich man. The Clevenad Browns just lured Kruger, a Utah native, away from the Baltimore Ravens in a five-year deal reportedly worth about $40 million, according to multiple sources. The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran an article Tuesday recapping Kruger’s recruitment by Urban Meyer, his LDS mission, his college career, and his emergence with the Ravens. Kruger had a breakout season in 2012. After … Continue reading»

How to return from the mission field to the playing field

Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski, left, grabs a rebound away from USC forward Garrett Jackson (33) during a game. (AP Photo/Richard Hartog)

When his friends advised him to take a year to train and regain his basketball body, Jordan Bachynski didn’t believe them. The 7-foot-2 center had just returned from serving a two-year LDS mission to South Florida. Before that, he missed his senior year of high school due to ankle surgery. But he didn’t want to wait any more, and his lack of production and poor conditioning was evident. … Continue reading»

New Zealand and international rugby legend joins Mormon Church

Former New Zealand All Blacks rugby player Jonah Lomu speaks to guests at a LDS devotional in Auckland. (Photo courtesy LDS Church)

A New Zealand rugby legend has joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jonah Lomu, a 37-year-old who played for the “All Blacks” rugby team, along with his wife, Nadene, joined the LDS Church earlier this year. The couple was recently featured in the New Zealand Herald and NZcity.co.nz for speaking at a church-sponsored devotional last summer. When he was 19, Lomu became the youngest player to … Continue reading»