Ahead of the 2023 NFL draft, C.J. Stroud was candid about his rocky relationship with his dad — and his life off the football field.
According to Sports Illustrated, C.J.’s father, Coleridge Bernard Stroud III, is currently serving a 38-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to carjacking, kidnapping, robbery and misdemeanor sexual battery charges in 2015.
“My pops, he was my best friend, to have your best friend be snatched like that, it was tough,” the quarterback told the outlet in December 2022. “I just look at the things my dad did that were positive, but for a while, I wasn’t like that. I hated my pops, for real. Like man, how could you leave me like that?”
His mother, Kimberly, noted that her son stepped up amid the adversity, explaining that Coleridge’s strained relationship with C.J. began when the athlete was in middle school as his dad would “show up in spurts.”
“He had a choice when his father went away. He was going to let that motivate him and be the best or he was going to succumb to it and become a statistic of a kid whose parent did something they shouldn’t,” she said. “I sit and I’m amazed at how resilient he is. C.J. is the most amazing human I have ever met.”
As C.J. found success at The Ohio State University — starting for the Buckeyes in 2021 and 2022 — he managed to reconnect with his dad behind bars.
“After the Heisman [ceremony], C.J. is sitting there disappointed in the car, and his dad calls and they talked. At that time, that’s when I knew he forgave his dad,” Kimberly explained.
During an interview on “The Pivot” podcast that same month, C.J. noted: “When I talk to him now, I don’t hold any ill will. I told him, ‘I love you.’ He made his mistakes. I’ve made mine. It’s not about the bad.”
One month before the draft in April 2023, C.J. told USA Today that he believes he’s been “the best player in college football two years in a row.”
“I think I’m a playmaker. I think I’m very creative and I think I’m smart when it comes to protections and things like that,” he said in March 2023. “Because I saw a lot of issues before they were even there. That’s something I pride myself on. One thing about me, I think I’m a ball placement specialist. That’s one thing, I like to be very accurate. I don’t want my receivers to have to do anything but catch the ball. I think I’ve shown that time and time on film.”
Sign up for Us Weekly’s free, daily newsletter and never miss breaking news or exclusive stories about your favorite celebrities, TV shows and more!
Scroll through for more on the Stroud family: