Hilinski: Bringing Hope Beyond Football
Ryan Hilinski is just another 18 year old. However, he was one of the most sought after college quarterback recruits in the nation. At least 32 top 50 schools offered him a full scholarship to play quarterback. Schools such as Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas A&M, Stanford and his state’s pride and joy the USC Trojans. However, Hilinski chose to play for the University of South Carolina.
Sadly, Ryan’s brother Tyler the quarterback for Washington State University committed suicide on January 16, 2018. This left Ryan, his parents and one remaining sibling beyond heart broken. The entire family moved from Orange, California to Columbia, South Carolina after just one year of grieving his brother’s passing. They moved across the country to get away from places that only made them miss Tyler more. They also brought with them way more than a quarterback. They brought a mission way beyond football.
Ryan has only been the starting quarterback for USC four games. Yet, with every game you can see God using this young man mightily. Winning or losing, the Hilinski Hope foundation is touching countless lives. This humble young man plays football wearing his deceased brother’s number three on his jersey. At the beginning of every third quarter home game everyone in Williams Brice Stadium holds up three fingers. One in memory of his brother. Two, in an effort to bring greater awareness to mental health issues.
An entire nation has heard about the Hilinski Hope foundation. No telling how many lives have already been changed and saved in recent weeks. Thousands continue to support this cause. Many young and old have shifted their focus away from Football. Hilinski keeps reminding us all that some things are way more important.
There’s no doubt this kid has been God sent to South Carolina. His love for others is so genuine. His brokenness is so real it spills out to those around him. He and his family can rest assured that Tyler Hilinski’s memory remains strong. His death has not been wasted. God is using his passing as a beacon of hope to many. It just reminds us that God can use even the darkest tragedy as a platform of hope for many.
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” John 9:3
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