Photo by Joe Howell/Special to the News Sentinel
Photo by Saul Young
Chris Walker lost his best friend. Nick Reveiz could have lost his sister and brother.
The two Tennessee football players have been tried and tested and overcome the tragedies that are part of life. Both turned to their faith and Jesus Christ to get them through the most difficult of times.
Sunday night, Walker and Reveiz shared their stories of faith during "Night with the Vols," presented by UT's Team United, a joint ministry of Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Other UT athletes who spoke at the Wolf-Kaplan Room of UT's Neyland Stadium were golfer Lauren Spurlock and soccer player Molly Baird.
Walker, a junior defensive end, was raised in Memphis in a Christian family and joined a church at an early age.
It wasn't until his junior year of high school that Walker's faith was put to the truest of tests.
His best friend, Chris Mosby, was killed in an automobile accident. Mosby was like a big brother to Walker.
"It was something that was really, really traumatic to me, just seeing the guy I looked up to (pass away)," Walker said. "I looked up to him so much I called him Superman. It was really difficult for me to get over, but God showed me a lot of things through his death. (God) said, 'Live life for me, live life to the fullest, because you never know when I'm going to call you home.' That was a really tough situation for me."
Mosby, a year ahead of Walker at Christian Brothers High School, had accepted a football scholarship offer to Kentucky. Walker planned to follow Mosby to Kentucky.
Two years later, Walker was a UT freshman when former team chaplain James Mitchell brought him to an FCA camp in February.
"It was just something that rocked my world, to see other athletes living for God and just being sold out completely for him," Walker said. "That was when I decided to rededicate my life to God and live for him."
Reveiz, a junior linebacker and son of former UT kicker Fuad Reveiz, had a similar awakening in December of 2007 when doctors discovered his younger brother, Shane, had a tumor inside his heart.
Shane had open-heart surgery Jan. 9, 2008.
"God really told me, 'Nick, you're living for football and you love football. I've given you this passion but that's not your No. 1 thing. I should be your No. 1 thing,' " Nick Reveiz said. "That's when I said, "God, I'm committing my life to you. I'm going to live for you and I'm going to play football for you instead of playing for myself.' "
Four months later, in April of 2008, Reveiz's younger sister, Bryanna, was critically injured in an automobile accident.
As Bryanna went through a number of surgeries, Fuad Reveiz was facing a struggling economy. His home-building business was failing. And last Sept. 26, Fuad was dealt another gut-wrenching blow when he saw Nick suffer a torn ACL against Ohio.
Nick is rehabilitating from knee surgery and will play alongside Shane for the Vols this fall. Bryanna has made a full recovery and just completed her freshman year at UT.
"Our family's been through a whole lot of tough stuff," Nick Reveiz said. "When they first told me they thought I tore my ACL, I instantly started balling and crying I was so saddened, but then I remember our chaplain, Roger Woods, said Romans 8:28.
"What that verse says is no matter what happens to you, whether good or bad, it's for the good of you. It's for the good of the believer of Jesus Christ. I also realized how really small a knee injury is compared to a life-threatening situation, which I'd seen my family go through."
Dave Link is a freelance contributor.