(Outsports)

FOOTBALL: The college football season is kicking off with the most out players in the history of the sport. While there were already five out players among college football’s ranks, making it a record year, the number jumped to six when linebacker Xavier Colvin, a sophomore at Indiana’s Butler University came out to his teammates last month.

“Afterwards I got texts and phone calls,” Colvin told Outsports about his decision to come out. “The freshmen who didn’t know me came and shook my hand. And they all said, ‘we’ve got your back.’ They told me how proud they were of me. Not even a single negative reaction. It was all positive.”

There have been 11 known queer players in NFL’s history, although most did not come out until they’d left the sport. Recently, Michael Sam came out prior to the draft in 2014 and was drafted by the then St. Louis Rams. He played in four pre-season games but is now out of football, according to Outsports.

But the fact that college football is having a record year with six out players is a promising trend for the sport in general.  Colvin joins other out players including Kansas State’s sophomore offensive lineman Scott Frantz (pictured in white and blue), Arizona defensive lineman My-King Johnson (a freshman), University of St. Francis linebacker Kyle Kurdziolek (a junior), Marian University Center Darrion McAlister (a senior), and Capital University wide receiver Wyatt Pertuset (a sophomore).

“Other LGBT athletes and non-athletes have to realize they are not alone. There are other people with similar stories, similar backgrounds,” Colvin told Outsports.