On the football field, University of Tulsa quarterback Chad President is a no-nonsense player.
“He’s a pretty serious guy,” left guard Tyler Bowling said. “He’s a very calm and collected leader.”
Around his friends, President is fun-loving with a sarcastic sense of humor.
“He’s one of the nicest people,” said tight end Chris Minter, also a high school teammate of President’s. “You just have to get to know him.”
President, a third-year sophomore in his first season as the Hurricane’s starting quarterback, has layers to his personality that few see.
When he’s lying in bed at night, he’s expressing his feelings through poetry, a hobby inspired by his favorite musical artist, Drake.
“Nothing major, but six or 12 lines here or there,” President said. “Something to keep football or school off my mind.”
When he’s in the shower, he’s singing old-school R&B songs. His go-to is “Can You Stand the Rain.”
“All the New Edition, Johnny Gill, stuff like that,” President said. “I’m a big fan.”
When he has spare time, he is FaceTiming with his 2-year-old daughter, Mia, who lives in his hometown of Temple.
“She has blue eyes, curly hair,” President said, lighting up when talking about her. “She’s sarcastic like me. She puts the hand on her hip already. She’s a ton of joy when you see her.”
Mia attended her dad’s game Saturday, when he scored his first career touchdowns and picked up his first win as the starter. A year ago, she was already recognizing him during games, pointing to the TV when the camera was on President.
“(Becoming a father) makes you grow up fast,” President said. “It makes you take life more seriously. You can’t do the reckless things you did in high school or that typical college kids do. You have to be a grown-up about it.”
Family is important for President, who always wears a silver necklace given to him by his mom for his birthday last year.
“It’s a shield with a cross on it, so I call it the shield of Christ,” he said. “I’ve worn it ever since she got it for me. I don’t take it off.”
A close relationship with his father played a significant role in President developing into a star high school player. President was coached by his dad on the Temple Falcons youth team, moving to quarterback in his second season.
“Since then, I’ve wanted to become a quarterback,” President said. “I watched Vince Young when I was growing up (and he was) at Texas. That’s one of the reasons why I wear No. 10.”
President played receiver as a high school sophomore but was on the radar of Philip Montgomery, the offensive coordinator at Baylor at the time. While other college coaches wanted President as a receiver, Montgomery saw potential as a quarterback.
The two became close during the recruiting process, and that relationship was key in President committing to Baylor in April 2013.
“We didn’t always talk about football,” President said. “It was more about life and what was going on at home and at school, stuff like that.”
After Montgomery left to become coach at TU and Baylor landed the commitment of another quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, President backed off his pledge to the Bears. Two days later, on Christmas Day 2014, he became Montgomery’s first Hurricane pledge as a four-star prospect.
“Once he decommitted, he called me and we got back in the swing of what we’re at now,” Montgomery said. “I think Chad did it the right way. I think we did it the right way.
“It wasn’t like I was trying to convince him to do something and try to change his mind. That was up to him and his parents and (letting) them figure out what they want to do in that scenario.”
After leading Temple to the Class 5A state championship game, President graduated early and arrived at Tulsa in January 2015. While coping with the news of his impending fatherhood, he also struggled to adjust to the college game.
“I came in with high confidence,” he said. “Going through that first spring was pretty tough and fall camp was pretty tough. It was kind of a humbling experience. You can’t get away with things you did in high school. You’ve got to work on your game.”
Midway through President’s first season, Montgomery saw a use for a more mobile QB to complement starter Dane Evans. President played six games that year, followed by the 2016 opener in which he was lost for the season with a leg injury.
After the setback, President designated 2017 as his comeback season, devoting himself to improving as a passer in an attempt to win the starting job. The hard work paid off, and he got the nod over redshirt freshman Luke Skipper in the first two games.
Asked after Saturday’s win whether President had done enough to secure the starting role, Montgomery said: “I have a ton of faith in him and he’s got to continue to keep developing and growing, but I was really pleased with the way he played. I thought he managed the game really well today. I thought he was very effective in some crucial times and he had some big throws. He is our starter.”
A high football IQ has benefited President throughout his development, and he said he plans to become a coach after his playing career, possibly at the high school level in Texas.
“Last year, I was fortunate enough to wear the headset on the sideline sometimes,” he said. “I was going back and forth listening to what the defense was going to adjust to and what we were going to adjust to on offense. I’m just trying to gain as much knowledge about the game as I can to prepare me for the future.”