FAU’s Stoshak brothers catch each other on the flip side


The only thing more impressive than Florida Atlantic’s Jenson Stoshak catching passes while doing backflips is the number of backflips he performed before a sequence of three catches survived the cutting room floor.

The person behind the camera? That was Stoshak’s brother, Jake, a defensive back who in May filmed the feat of athletic prowess on a practice field at FAU. The clip went viral with local and national television affiliates running with it.

“He is the one that does the flips in the family, for sure,” said Jake.

“One day after summer workouts I asked Jake if we should try to be on ESPN and he was like, ‘Sure,’” said Jenson. “We went out to the practice fields and just kept on doing it. It took me like 30 backflips to get it. It was a spontaneous thing, spur of the moment.”

Their first college game playing together was anything but spur of the moment. Jenson and Jake had Sept. 5, the season opener at Tulsa, circled for some time. It was first time they played together since high school a few years earlier in their hometown of Jacksonville.

“It reminded me of our high school days when we played on the same team together,” said Jake, a redshirt freshman cornerback who has 23 tackles. “It was exciting to be back out there playing football and especially being out there with my brother. It was a great feeling.”

Jenson, a senior receiver who topped 100 career receptions earlier this season, echoed that sentiment.

“It was like déjà vu because in high school we did the same thing,” he said. “Before we took the field it was cool looking to my side and seeing him. It a really cool experience that I would not have wanted to share with anybody else.”

The brothers also shared a few moments before the game.

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“I knew it was the first college game that he was playing in, so I told him to just trust his training and everything would take care of itself,” said Jenson. “He is a good enough athlete and he is real smart, so I knew he would be fine out there.”

After catching 15 passes for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns as a freshman in 2012 Jenson was awarded a scholarship during an end-of-season banquet. With 108 career receptions he has not disappointed and could very well establish new career highs for receptions and receiving yards in a season as soon as Saturday’s game against FIU.

On the sideline the brothers are there for each other sharing insight and strategy.

“After a certain play happens either I will go over to him or he will come over to me and we will talk about it,” said Jake. “We are always giving each other advice on what we see out there.”

It wasn’t always that way. Football in the front yard or hoops in the driveway of their Jacksonville, Fla., home? Forget it. Jenson wanted to dish out punishment, not advice.

“My mom would always say to take it easy on him and I would be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, I will be good,’” said Jenson. “But there was no holding back out there.”

They still go at it. The difference is that the setting is at practice with the Owls. When Jake joined the program last year it was once again time for each brother to attempt to one-up the other.

“Last year he was on the scout team defense and would go up against me,” said Jenson, who will attend FAU’s pro day leading up to the draft and would like to ultimately coach at the collegiate level. “We would always keep an eye out when going against each other. I would kind of make sure that he would not make a play on me and he would make sure that I would not make a play on him.”

There are no such issues when it comes to catching passes while performing backflips because, well, Jenson is the man.

Above: FAU’s Jenson Stoshak explains why Jordy Nelson is his favorite receiver.
Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger

Tom Layberger is a freelance writer based in Glen Mills, Pa.