Featured photo by Luke Larkin
Story by Christian Skelton
2023 Spring practice is underway for the MTSU Blue Raiders. The Blue Raiders enter 2023 coming off an 8-5 2022 campaign that featured a win at No. 25 Miami and a Hawaii Bowl victory over San Diego State. Head Coach Rick Stockstill enters his 18th season at Middle Tennessee looking to build off that success from last year.
“I thought it was a good first day, I thought the energy was good as well,” Stockstill said. “We’ve got a lot of guys back at certain positions, and some young guys at others but I thought they worked well for the first day.”
One of the places where there are players with less experience is the quarterback position. With former starting QB Chase Cunningham graduating after the 2022 season, the Blue Raiders are looking for a new starting quarterback.
“Hopefully it’ll be solidified by the fall, but we’ll definitely go through the spring and summer and even the first part of August if we have to in order to figure that out,” Stockstill said. “Ideally, we’d like to identify our starter a couple of weeks before our opening game against Alabama.”
One of the men competing for the job is redshirt sophomore Nick Vattiato. Vattiato has starting experience and was even named Offensive MVP during MTSU’s Bahamas Bowl victory over Toledo in his freshman season in 2021. Vattiato now looks to become the Blue Raiders’ permanent starter.
“Coming up with these younger guys and seeing the hard work we’ve put in leading to new opportunities has been fun to see and I’m super excited to see where it leads moving forward.” Vattiato said.
The Blue Raider defense features a veteran laden roster that looks to wreak havoc on opposing offenses. They will be led by redshirt senior cornerback Teldrick Ross. Ross is entering his sixth season in Murfreesboro and is coming off a 2022 campaign where he was named second team All-C-USA.
“I’m more of a guy that leads by example rather than being a vocal leader although I can do that as well,” Ross said. “I feel like when the younger guys come out here and see my work ethic and love I have for the game it’ll translate and help them become better players.”
Christian Skelton is a sports reporter for MTSU Sidelines. If you have information for a story, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.