Chip Sarafin comes out publicly

Updated: August 13, 2014, 10:22 PM ET
By Chantel Jennings | ESPN.com

Arizona State offensive lineman Edward "Chip" Sarafin told Compete Magazine that he is gay, becoming the first active Division I college football player to come out publicly.

Like former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam, Sarafin came out to his team before going public.

"It was really personal to me and it benefited my peace of mind greatly," Sarafin told Compete Magazine -- a Tempe, Arizona-based LGBT sports publication -- of revealing his sexual orientation to teammates this past spring.

Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL, tweeted his support for Sarafin:

The reporter who interviewed Sarafin for the Compete Magazine story, Joshua Wyrick, said the player "cited Michael Sam as kind of the impetus for him reaching out."

Sam told teammates he was gay during his playing days but did not come out publicly until after finishing his career at Missouri.

ASU coach Todd Graham also expressed support and praised Sarafin.

"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual's commitment to the Sun Devil Way," he said in a statement. "Chip is a fifth-year senior and a Scholar Baller, a graduate and a master's student. His commitment to service is unmatched and it is clear he is on his way to leading a successful life after his playing career, a goal that I have for every student-athlete. Diversity and acceptance are two of the pillars of our program, and he has full support from his teammates and the coaching staff."

"The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him," vice president of ASU athletics Ray Anderson said.

Sarafin has spent most of his time at Arizona State as a reserve offensive lineman. He has yet to play in a game, working as a scout-team player early in his career and providing depth on the Sun Devils' offensive line last season.

The 6-foot-6, 320-pound lineman graduated last spring with a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering and currently is enrolled in ASU's graduate program for biomedical engineering. He has been involved in research for football-related concussions, and has been active in the community with youth sports and the Tillman Scholars program.

The Sun Devils open their season Aug. 28 at home against Weber State.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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