Photo by Devin Grimes / MTSU Sidelines
Brent Stockstill is quite possibly the greatest quarterback to suit up for the Blue Raiders at Middle Tennessee State University. His road to becoming a Blue Raider legend is a long and adventurous one, but when he leaves the field for the final time, he hopes to leave a legacy on and off the field.
Stockstill is now entering his senior season, and he will look to cap off his illustrious career as a quarterback. Brent is synonymous with his father, Rick, who has been the head coach of the team since 2002, as well as Brent’s coach all four years he’s played.
“It’s been a dream come true for me. It’s been a true blessing,” Rick Stockstill said.
Rick Stockstill understands that certain athletes have abilities that aren’t coachable, and he sees a lot of those qualities in his son as a player and person.
“The competitiveness that he has, the leadership and the toughness, all those intangibles that make him special, make me proud as a father,” Rick Stockstill said. “He does everything right off the field. He represents this university and this football team in a first-class manner. He’s been a fantastic player.”
Brent Stockstill arrived at MTSU as a gray shirt, after decommitting from Cincinnati. Gray-shirted means that the athlete did not enroll until the second semester of the academic year and was ineligible to play. Then in his freshman season, Stockstill was redshirted which sidelined him until he was fully developed and ready to play at the collegiate level.
Stockstill’s first two years were a patient process, but it paid off when he was named the starter as a redshirt freshman in 2015. Stockstill’s impact and leadership was immediately felt, and he began lighting up the stat sheet.
In just his freshman season, Stockstill threw for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. He played and started all 13 games for the Blue Raiders. He also finished in the top 15 in all major statistical categories for quarterbacks. Stockstill finished the season sixth in completions per game, 14th in completion percentage, 12th in passing yards, 12th in passing touchdowns and 15th in total offense. The Blue Raiders finished the season at 7-6 while going 6-2 in Conference USA play. Stockstill led the Blue Raiders to a bowl game appearance in just his first season as a starter.
Going into his sophomore year, Stockstill was primed to take the next step as a leader and quarterback. He played a majority of the season, but a collarbone injury in week 10 forced him to miss the rest of the year. Prior to his exit, Stockstill had the Blue Raiders sitting at a 6-2 record with only one conference loss against longtime rival Western Kentucky.
Stockstill would return for the final contest of the season, which was a bowl-game appearance that Stockstill positioned his Blue Raider squad for. The Blue Raiders were selected to play in the Hawaii Bowl against the University of Hawaii, but the Blue Raiders came away empty in their bowl appearance for a second straight season.
After a successful sophomore campaign prior to Stockstill’s collarbone injury, the Blue Raiders were one of the more promising teams heading into the 2017 season. The Blue Raiders opened with a disappointing performance against Vanderbilt but bounced back in week two against Syracuse. Stockstill was exceptional, phenomenal and masterful against the Orangemen. He finished 22 of 36 for 269 yards and three touchdowns. He was an astounding 11 of 14 in the second half, and one of his touchdowns included a game-winner in the fourth quarter. It spoke volumes about the Blue Raiders and Stockstill’s character to overcome adversity from the week prior. It wasn’t until after the game that Stockstill was diagnosed with another broken collarbone.
The Blue Raiders struggled without Stockstill at the helm. Stockstill went down on Sept. 9 and made a triumphant return on Nov. 4 against the UTEP Miners. The Blue Raiders went 2-4 in Stockstill’s absence but finished the season 4-1 after his return. The Blue Raiders were still bowl eligible at 7-6 and were selected to play in the Camellia Bowl. Stockstill led the Blue Raiders to victory over Arkansas State, which was the Blue Raiders’ first bowl victory since 2009.
Stockstill was motivated and determined to return to action and provide the boost for his teammates. One of his biggest motivators was his spirit and drive to win.
“Really I just think it’s how competitive I am with myself,” Brent Stockstill said. “The self-discipline that I have just to get up every day no matter what’s going on, good or bad, (and) to compete every day to be the best I can be.”
For Brent, he understands how critics view players at the collegiate level and how scrutinized the quarterback position is.
“As a quarterback, you’re judged off your wins,” Stockstill said. “There’s still some wins I feel like I left out there, so that’s always in the back of my mind. But first and foremost, I just want to lead this team.”
The Blue Raiders will need his leadership and experience if they are to compete for a conference title in 2018. The C-USA has improved vastly since Stockstill’s freshman year. Not only has the Blue Raiders’ conference raised its level of competition, but the Blue Raiders’ non-conference schedule continues to rise in difficulty.
In past seasons, the Blue Raiders have played Big 10 schools and some smaller schools. In 2018, the Blue Raiders play UT-Martin and three Southeastern Conference schools. The team travels to Vanderbilt, Georgia and Kentucky.
Stockstill will lead his teammates into battle in tough environments and will be expected to raise his teammates and his own play. Nevertheless, Stockstill said there is no need for any outside motivation to prepare for big games in the spotlight.
“I don’t look for any external factors to motivate myself,” Stockstill said. “It really all comes from within, and that’s just the way I was raised.”
Not only has Stockstill excelled on the field, but he strives for his character off the field to surpass his accomplishments. When asked what he wants the university to remember him for, it wasn’t for all the records he broke or games he’s won.
“Honestly, I just want them to remember that I was a good person,” Stockstill said. “Everybody will forget the stuff that happens on the field one day, but the way that I made people feel around me, my teammates, the people in the athletic department and students in the university is what matters. Hopefully, I made them feel good about themselves and I represented this program, this school and this community in the right way.”
The Blue Raiders are always involved in the Murfreesboro community, and Rick Stockstill knows how much Brent gives back and what he has invested into MTSU.
“I hope this university remembers that he gave everything he had from a physical standpoint,” Rick Stockstill said. “He was involved in every community activity we had. He graduates with two degrees, and he couldn’t have given more to this university.”
When it’s all said and done, Brent Stockstill will be remembered as one of the greatest Blue Raider athletes to ever play. He has already broken records and will continue to shatter them in his senior season. He currently holds the Blue Raider record for passing yards, touchdown passes, 300-yard passing games, 400-yard passing games, average passing yards per game and completions by a quarterback.
There is no doubt that Brent Stockstill will be in the MTSU Hall of Fame one day, but as he said before, that’s not what is most important to him.
“The stuff on the field is cool,” Brent Stockstill said. “Maybe some of it will be recognized, but more importantly, it’s what you do as a person and that’s what I hope to be remembered for.”
To contact Sports Editor David Chamberlain, email firstname.lastname@example.org.