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Arizona State lineman Edward 'Chip' Sarafin becomes first active player to come out publicly as gay

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
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TEMPE, AZ - OCTOBER 19: General view of action between the Washington Huskies and the Arizona State Sun Devils during the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Huskies 53-24. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In a recent interview, Arizona State offensive lineman Edward “Chip” Sarafin became the first active Division I college football player to come out publicly as gay.

Sarafin, a 6-foot-6, 320-pound fifth-year senior from Gilbert, Ariz., decided to make his sexual orientation public in an interview with Phoenix-based Compete Magazine. The article focused on Sarafin’s biomedical engineering studies at ASU and mentions that Sarafin began to come out to his teammates last spring.

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(via Arizona State athletics)

(via Arizona State athletics)

“It was really personal to me, and it benefitted my peace of mind greatly,” he said.

Sarafin is following in the footsteps of former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who came out following a standout career with the Tigers and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. Though Sam had come out to his teammates during his senior season, the news had not been made public. Sarafin is the first to be an active member of a high-level college football team who is openly gay and has shared his story with the media.

Sarafin is a walk-on who has mainly contributed on the scout team during his time with the program, but also “provided protection” on special teams in 2013, according to his player bio on Arizona State’s website.

Both head coach Todd Graham and vice president of university athletics Ray Anderson released statements of support for 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," head coach Todd Graham said. "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."

Added Anderson:

"The entire athletics department is extremely proud of Chip and is unequivocally supportive of him. His undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering, his pursuit of a master's in the same field, his research involving football-related concussions, and his heavy involvement in the community with both youth sports in Arizona and the Tillman Scholars embodies all the characteristics that set our student-athletes apart and allows our university to maintain an environment of inclusiveness and progression.”

Arizona State’s season opens up at home against Weber State on August 28. The Sun Devils are coming off a 10-4 record in 2013.

(H/T Out Sports)

For more Arizona State news, visit ASUDevils.com.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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