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When the Denver Broncos announced their 53-man roster for the start of the season, one of the most exciting names on that list was undrafted free agent, Jalen Virgil. After playing for Appalachian State for 6 seasons, Virgil got his chance with the Broncos, where he instantly made an impact in preseason. After making the roster and patiently waiting for his chance to make a play, he came through in the Broncos week 10 game against the Titans, hauling in his first career reception for a 66 yard touchdown. As Jalen has worked to get to where he is, he has been shaped by his faith and relationship with his girlfriend, Maddie, and looks to make a difference throughout his career.

Jalen with Maddie at App State
Photo Provided by Jalen and Maddie
Growing up, things were not always easy for Jalen. As he fought through battles and found his home on the football field, he says it is his faith that is the reason for who he is.

“My parents guided me towards being a Christian early in my life. As I got older, I realized how much of a priority I needed to make my relationship with God. From my senior year of high school all the way up to now, I have taken pride in my faith. I realized how much better my life would be when I have faith in Jesus Christ.”

Throughout Jalen’s career on the field, he has been labeled an underdog. Jalen has used that as fuel to drive him into the player that he is today.

“I had to keep faith in myself and in God’s plans to persevere through all the obstacles I faced. I always believed that even through the hard times, I could learn a lesson and grow from it anyway I could. I wouldn’t have been mentally strong enough to take that approach on life if it wasn’t for my faith in Jesus and the process.”

Making a name for himself at Appalachian State with his jaw-dropping athleticism, Jalen Virgil made plays for the Mountaineers as a receiver and return specialist. While he grew on the field at App State, Jalen also says his time in Boone was special because of his strides off the field. It was there where he first met someone named Maddie Lewis.

“My relationship with Maddie has been something I could have only dreamed of having. I met Maddie my sophomore year of college and have been with her ever since. We have battled through a lot of ups and downs, but we both knew that if we stuck through them together that it would all be worth it. She has been there for me in my highest of highs and lowest of lows.”

Jalen Virgil Celebrates a Touchdown
Photo by Gabriel Christus / Denver Broncos
Jalen credits Maddie for his drive and says she was a reminder of what he was capable of.

“Whenever I was struggling mentally or on the field, she was always there to remind me of how hard I worked and what I was capable of. Whenever I experience something positive in my life, she is always there to congratulate and also humble me. Our relationship has aged like fine wine, and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. I truly think that God made us for each other.”

Maddie Lewis now works as a high school teacher and coach after getting her degree from Appalachian State. While it was at Appalachian State where she met Jalen, she says it is also where she saw faith become more important than ever before. Growing up, faith was always a priority for Maddie. However, she says that in college was when she really connected with faith and the impact it could have in her life.

“Around my sophomore year of college is when I realized I needed to do more with my faith. Life was getting real and I realized I couldn’t do it on my own or choose my own path. I had to buy into His plan for me and start truly living through and with Him. I learned to trust God during the low moments because I knew it was a lesson in the making and that he would be with me through it all. Even when I feel lost, he knows exactly where I am and where I am headed, which is all the reassurance I need.”

Since meeting Jalen and seeing their relationship grow, she says faith is the centerpiece of their lives together.

“Faith is the root of Jalen & I’s relationship. We’ve always made time to pray with and for one another and get the Lord’s word in whether we are physically together or 1,500+ miles apart. We would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for our faith. We’ve been through some rough patches, as most relationships have, however, we trusted in the Lord and He helped us get through and grow through it every time. We’ve prioritized our faith throughout our relationship and it has gotten us to where we are today; stronger than ever.”

Jalen with Maddie
Photo Provided by Jalen and Maddie
What stands out to Maddie about Jalen is the work ethic that he has. Despite any circumstance, she says his drive is what sets him apart.

“The way he has persevered throughout his football career, despite the adversity he faced, is admirable. No matter what position he was in, he always stayed positive & worked harder. It’s been a blessing to see his hard work pay off. Even throughout the seemingly never ending football season, he has managed to make time to prioritize our relationship & grow as a partner as well.”

Maddie also says that she is amazed by how he parents their first child together.

“Now, with our newest little addition, Kylan, I get to watch Jalen grow as a dad! I’ve witnessed how much of a role model he has been for so many young children and I can’t wait for him to do the same for our son. There’s no better man for our little boy to look up to!”

As Jalen looks to become an even more important piece of the Broncos offense, he looks to use every opportunity he can to inspire anybody who may be watching. Motivated by his family and a faith he holds close to his heart, Jalen says he hopes his career demonstrates to others that anything is possible.

“Whenever it’s all said and done and I finally hang up my cleats, I want my platform to have given hope to people that may have doubt in their future. I want people to look at my journey and realize that anything is possible no matter how much the odds may seem stacked against you. It all starts with taking it one day at a time, remaining positive, and making the most out the hand you are dealt. Control what you can control and make the most out of every chance you get to better your situation. If I can help people develop this mindset from my journey, then I will feel like I’ve left my mark for all the underdogs out there.”


Ethan Kruse

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