Scholar-athlete Brent Stockstill (’16) has done more than simply pass his way to one of the all-time greatest football careers at Middle Tennessee
Although Brent Stockstill has just two seasons under his belt as starting quarterback of the Blue Raiders, the redshirt sophomore’s awards and achievements on the field are nothing short of staggering.
He’s already the school’s all-time leader in touchdown passes (61), 300-yard passing games (14), and passing yards per game (303.3) and will no doubt break most every other school passing record next season. A former Freshman All-American, he currently ranks fourth nationally among active players in career passing yards per game and sixth in total passing yards.
But to focus solely on Stockstill’s accolades and accomplishments on the field would be to miss a big part of his story at MTSU. With an academic work ethic that equals his fierce competitive streak on the football field, Stockstill has already graduated with a bachelor’s degree in just over three years and has even started work in a master’s program.
True Blue Student-Athlete
Given the remarkable nature of his athletic achievements, it would be easy to imagine Stockstill spending all of his time sitting in a film room or tossing balls on the practice field. But he knows when it’s time to put football to the side and focus on excelling in the other field of play for student-athletes: the classroom.
“I’m extremely proud to complete it that quickly,” Stockstill said of his undergraduate degree. “It’s pretty cool that I still have two years of football left to go ahead and work on a master’s. I really couldn’t ask for much more.”
Given how fast Stockstill earned his degree, one would assume he followed a hurdle-less path to graduation. However, the road hasn’t always been a straight and easy one for the quarterback. He originally signed with the University of Cincinnati out of Murfreesboro’s Siegel High School in 2013, but decided before the fall semester started to transfer to MTSU and play for the hometown team coached by his father, Rick Stockstill.
Cincinnati granted his release from his scholarship, but Stockstill took a grayshirt for his first season on the MTSU campus.
That meant he had to pay his own way through the first semester before a scholarship opened up in January 2014.
Stockstill then took a redshirt one game into the 2014 season, again delaying the start to his collegiate career on the field. He was eventually named the starter out of camp in 2015 as a redshirt freshman.
While he waited to get on the field, Stockstill’s focus in the classroom was laser-sharp, to say the least. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Leisure, Sport, and Tourism Studies in 3. years, graduating in December 2016 with Cum Laude honors. Thanks to the department’s Accelerated Bachelor’s-to-Master’s (ABM) program, he also started on a master’s degree in Leisure and Sport Management in the spring with 12 credits already under his belt. In order for students to be accepted into the ABM and the master’s programs, they have to maintain at least a cumulative 3.25 GPA in their undergraduate courses.
“When I was starting out, I didn’t know that’s how it was going to work, but as I got through my first and second year, I saw where if I could do what I was supposed to do on the path I was on, I could complete my master’s even before my senior year of football,” Stockstill said. “That’s pretty exciting.”
Even with some of the distractions that go hand-in-hand with being a college quarterback and with football preparations taking up a lot of his time, Stockstill believes that reaching his academic goals wasn’t as difficult as it might have been at another university. He credits both the “great academic guidance” he’s gotten at MTSU and the work ethic instilled in him by his parents both on and off the field for his performance in the classroom.
“You have the people here to put you in the right place; you just have to do the work,” he said. “It’s hard to be a student-athlete. You have to be very mature and balance both the ball and the work. When you have the people around you constantly pushing you and trying to keep you on track, all you have to do is focus on doing the work.”
Stockstill doesn’t plan on slowing down academically. He’s on track to graduate in just one year with a master’s degree, an academic achievement he hopes will help him transition to a coaching role after his playing days are over.
“Having that master’s in hand is going to be huge for me,” he said. “I think having both my quarterback play and my degree is going to be a huge help in the future when I get into the coaching profession.”
With so much academic success (and so many football records) already under his belt, what does Stockstill say could be the cherry on top of his already storied career at MTSU?
“To be able to do everything here in Murfreesboro is special,” he said. “Now we just have to go get the fans a championship.” MTSU
by Josh Vardaman
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