Through his first 15 career starts hometown boy Brent Stockstill has spread a lot of good feeling among the Middle Tennessee faithful. The redshirt sophomore quarterback already has 38 touchdown passes A year ago his 4,005 passing yards came within 53 of Jameis Winston’s NCAA freshman mark.
While Stockstill takes great pride in his accomplishment on the gridiron not much can measure up to his work off the field where the measuring stick is not a first-down marker, but smiles on young faces grateful for the 22-year-old’s time and commitment.
[caption id="attachment_3237" align="alignright" width="150"] SATURDAY ON ASN: Middle Tennessee at Bowling Green, noon ET (click logo for local listings)[/caption]
His work with numerous charitable organizations and elementary schools has resulted in being a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team and the Wuerffel Trophy. Both awards highlight achievement on the field, in the classroom and in the community.
“Those are probably the highest honors that you can receive,” he said of the nominations. “It means a lot to give back to the community, giving your gift while putting a smile on the faces of people who really can’t do the things that you can do. I think that as college athletes we owe it to them to use our platform to help them. It means a lot to me to be recognized for that and I take a lot of pride in it.”
Stockstill, who is from Murfreesboro, Tenn., where MTSU is located, has particularly enjoyed his time working with the Special Olympics and Camp Ability, a Christian summer camp for youth with special needs.
“Helping those with special needs is really my passion and those are two programs that I am really involved with,” said Stockstill, who is on the Davey O’Brien Award watch list as the nation’s top quarterback. “I have loved helping people since when I was young and as I have grown up I developed a passion for assisting kids with special needs, being there for them. I love helping the younger generation.”
He also loves reading to elementary schools students, which is something he will do next week. Between his community service, class, practice and games one might think his time management responsibilities would be downright daunting.
Alas, Stockstill is not at conflict with an overflowing calendar simply because all the activities that are penciled in are ones he very much enjoys.
“When you are passionate about things it is easy to make time for them,” said the leisure sport and tourism major. “I love the game of football, so it is easy for me to go to work every day. I love helping people, so it is easy for me to help within the community. It is all pretty easy for me and I have a lot of fun doing it.”
He also has a lot of fun playing for his coach. The Blue Raiders’ sideline boss happens to be his father, Rick Stockstill, a former Florida State quarterback now in his 11th season at the helm of MTSU.
Stockstill, a lefty, initially committed to Cincinnati. However, he ultimately decided he wanted to be at home playing for his father. UC granted a release from his scholarship and since MTSU did not have one to offer, he spent the autumn of 2013 as a gray shirt paying his own way academically and not being able to work out with the team. After throwing three passes in the 2014 opener he was redshirted before being unveiled in earnest last season.
Some felt his transfer home would not be in Stockstill’s best interest from the standpoint the father/son relationship could be damaged, some form of nepotism would rise to the surface or any number of things. None of that has been the case.
“I love it and I tell people all the time that it is truly a blessing to spend every day with one of your best friends, who is also a person that raised you,” he said. “It is a pretty special relationship that we have. He treats everybody on the team like they are his sons and he doesn’t treat me any different. I am honored to play for him.”
While Rick has offered plenty of advice when it comes to being a college quarterback, Stockstill also sought the services of some of the best in the business when he attended the Manning Passing Academy this summer.
Attending the camp in Thibodaux, La. not only served as an opportunity to learn under the direction of Peyton, Eli and Archie, but it also gave Stockstill a chance to work with young attendees.
“It was another chance to give back,” he said. “There were over a thousand high school and middle school quarterbacks there and it was a chance for me to share some knowledge with those guys and maybe help them to get to where I am at someday.”
Stockstill would like to help his team to a win over Bowling Green, where the Blue Raiders (1-1) travel for Saturday's game at noon ET on ASN. Those tuning in likely will see Stockstill looking for sophomore receiver Richie James, whose 108 receptions last season were third nationally. This season the two have already connected 22 times.
“I am glad he is on my side,” said Stockstill. “He makes me look good.”
On the cover: Photo courtesy Brent Beerends, MT Athletic Communications
Above: Brent and Rick Stockstill. (Courtesy DNJ Sports)