Rick Stockstill remembers the mornings when son Brent Stockstill grabbed a football or baseball and went in the backyard to throw with his father.
It often took place 30 minutes before Brent Stockstill had to be at school. But he still wanted a few minutes of throwing the ball with his father, working on his game.
“We’d go throw the ball before school started,” said Rick Stockstill, who is the MTSU football coach. “He’s always been a very hardworking, committed and dedicated kid that has stayed very focused on his goal.”
Now, years later on National Signing Day, Siegel High senior Brent Stockstill will sign his name on a letter of intent to attend Cincinnati on a football scholarship. He is one of more than a dozen Rutherford County high school football players expected to turn verbal commitments into legal, binding contracts during the signing period.
“It’s a very special day,” Brent Stockstill said. “It’s humbling to know that you can continue your playing career for another four years. Not everyone has that opportunity.
“It’s a blessing to see your hard work paid off.”
For Brent Stockstill, his special day will take him more than 300 miles away from Murfreesboro and Middle Tennessee State University, the place his father has worked and built a respectable program since his first season in 2006.
It’s a program where Brent Stockstill knows each assistant coach and athletic trainer. It’s a program where he’s developed friendships with current players. There were times when those players attended Siegel High football games to see Brent Stockstill quarterback the Stars’ high-powered offense.
And when they didn’t go, they’d ask his dad the next morning how many yards he threw for under the Friday night lights.
“He’s up (on campus) a bunch,” Rick Stockstill said. “He knows a lot of the players. (Quarterback) Logan (Kilgore) and some of them came to see him play this year. Brent is a good person, and those guys like him — not because he is my son or anything like that.”
However, now it’s time for Brent Stockstill to leave home and branch out on his own. The left-handed quarterback could have chosen to stay at home. He is certainly good enough to take snaps one day at Floyd Stadium. But this was his opportunity to get away from the ‘Boro, where his surname is synonymous with MTSU football.
“It’s a great chance to take another step in my life,” Brent Stockstill said. “I can go out on my own. It’s going to be a great opportunity to grow up and succeed.
“I’m looking forward to that.”
Brent Stockstill was Siegel High’s first Mr. Football finalist. He was named The Daily News Journal’s 2012 Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 2,690 yards with 32 touchdowns while rushing for 653 yards and scoring 10 rushing touchdowns. He tore his ACL in the TSSAA Class 6A state quarterfinals, but threw for 374 yards in a loss to Maryville in the semifinals with the injury. He is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation.
“I’m a very competitive person,” Brent Stockstill said. “Not being able to play baseball (this spring), I need to have something I can compete with. Rehab and trying to get back has taken that spot.”
Not everyone has fully come to grips with Brent Stockstill’s college decision.
Emily Stockstill, Brent’s younger sister, said she’s not looking forward to seeing her older brother go away to college.
“I’ll be kind of sad,” she said. “We do a lot of stuff together. But, I’m proud of him.”
Sara Stockstill — Brent’s mother — has slowly come to the realization that her son will be leaving home and play college football in another state for a different head coach than her husband.
At one time she wanted her son to stay at home and play football. But as the recruiting process progressed, she came to the conclusion that her son’s decision to leave home was his best opportunity to grow as a person.
“Probably at the beginning, I felt like it would be nice to keep him here and keep him close,” Sara Stockstill admitted. “As it’s gone on, I can see what a great opportunity it is to go off to college.
“I was so excited when he announced (where he was going). He has a great opportunity.”
She has even picked up Cincinnati apparel that she’ll wear proudly this season. And Sara Stockstill has started the process of mapping out the season, comparing the two college football schedules.
She said while Delta has a direct flight to Cincinnati from Nashville, the trip is well within driving distance.
“She won’t have to ask me permission to go,” Rick Stockstill said.
Rick Stockstill, though, will rely on TV games since he will have his own games to prepare for each week.
“I’ll have to develop a good relationship with their video guy,” he said. “That will be the hard part for me, not being able to see him play, or practice. In this profession, I’ve missed so much of his and Emily’s extra-curricular activities. I knew that getting into this profession.
“I hope they play on TV a bunch. The one thing I was telling (MTSU football player) Tavarres Jefferson, ‘If we have an open date and they have a game, you don’t have to worry about practicing on Saturday because I won’t be there.'”
And one other thing is certain. The Stockstill household is more than just an MTSU family regarding who they cheer for on Saturdays this fall.
“It will be just like when Siegel was playing on Friday, and then MTSU would play on Saturday,” Sara Stockstill said. “It was exciting to have two teams to cheer for then. I’ll pull for both (college) teams now.”