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Coach's Son To Star Quarterback: The Journey Of Brent Stockstill

A journey that started in Murfreesboro, veered to Cincinnati, and returned back to Murfreesboro has come full circle with Brent Stockstill hoping to lead MTSU to a CUSA win over heated rival Western Kentucky.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

For Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders starting quarterback Brent Stockstill, it is a dream come true to play at MTSU for his father. For head coach Rick Stockstill, finding out that his son actually wanted to play for him was a huge surprise.

Brent, a three-star prospect of the 2013 class according to 247Sports.com, took an interesting route to get to MTSU. Listed as a top 30 dual threat quarterback out of Seigel High School in Murfreesboro, many teams throughout the nation saw him as an answer to their quarterback woes.

When Stockstill made his collegiate decision, it was between offers from Cincinnati, Memphis, Texas Tech, Toledo, and Western Michigan. Curiously missing from that list was his hometown Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. The 6-0, 192 pound quarterback chose the Bearcats and signed with the program, almost immediately regretting his decision.

Unknown to him at the time, Cincinnati had also acquired the services of Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel, a player that would have to sit out the 2013 season and become eligible in 2014 with three years remaining. Even before that news was announced, he had already made the decision to have a talk with his father and express interest in leaving Cincinnati and coming home to MTSU.

After a long discussion with his father that included an admission that he had wanted to stay come and go to MTSU, Stockstill joined the program in the summer of 2013. With a full roster and no scholarships available, he was greyshirted, a recruiting process that includes a player either sitting out completely or paying his own way to go to school for his first semester, before being added to the following year’s recruiting class. He finally joined the program officially in the spring of 2014, just in time for spring practice.

Stockstill saw playing time in his freshman season versus Savannah State, before accepting a redshirt and sitting out the rest of the season. During the 2014 season, Austin Grammer (2,557 yards, 17 TD) led the Blue Raiders to a 6-6 record and bowl eligibility. Despite being eligible, MTSU was not chosen for a bowl berth.

Fast forward to the spring of 2015. Under the elder Stockstill, no one is guaranteed a starting spot just because they started the previous season. Therefore, Stockstill was on even ground with Grammer. What came next was a battle for the quarterback position that went all the way through spring, past summer, and into fall camp.

Finally, Brent Stockstill was announced days before the season opener versus Jackson State as the starter. This decision was met with some hostility as it was seen as a bit of nepotism, despite the adamant denials of everyone associated with the program.

The only way for both father and son to be vindicated was on the football field. 24-30 for 348 yards and four touchdowns later, Brent was firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback. Since taking over the starting quarterback position to start the 2015 season, Stockstill has gone 130-192 passing for 1,507 yards and 13 touchdowns. He heads into this game as the nation’s ninth leading passer, ninth in passing touchdowns, and #16 nationally with 301.4 yards per game in the air. Three of his five starts were versus Power Five programs (Illinois, Alabama, and Vanderbilt).

For both father and son, getting the chance to be one of college football’s great father-son combinations has been a feeling greater than words. For both, the only thing that would be even better would be a road win over Western Kentucky Saturday afternoon.