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July 15, 2013
Dallas Jackson is the National Columnist for Rivals.com. Email him your comments or story ideas to DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
The spring evaluation and summer camp circuit has been kind to Stephenville (Texas) High dual-threat quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Every stop he makes seems to result in a college offer.
Stidham is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound prospect who moved to Texas from Kentucky as a preteen. He currently has offers from Baylor, Kentucky, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Stidham has made a major charge in the class of 2015 rankings discussion after being named the top quarterback at the Rivals250 Underclassmen Challenge presented by Under Armour and the No. 6 overall player at the invitation-only event.
The difference between Stidham and many other players is that there is no game film of him playing the position. He has spent his time in high school lining up at wide receiver while Texas State signee Tyler Jones has started at quarterback.
Stidham said he is comfortable becoming part of a growing trend of players who have earned their offers with performances at one-day events in front of college coaches without the game film to go with it.
"It is pretty cool to have done it like this," he said. "Quarterback has always been the position I wanted to play at the next level, and I have been working toward it. Really, playing the other positions made me better as a quarterback because now I know what the receivers, cornerbacks and safety are expected to do.
"My focus now is to get ready for two-a-days and get Stephenville back to another state title. I think that, with how the summer has gone, it has helped my confidence and will have the guys ready to go, too."
Stidham was cited by Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell as an honorable mention selection for how he spins the ball at the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge.
Farrell said he understands why coaches like what they see from Stidham.
"He has a very good build, and with his height and arm strength it is impressive," Farrell said. "It isn't surprising that coaches are offering him off of one camp setting, even without film to see how he reacts in a game. He has attributes that you can't coach."
Farrell said Stidham may be the exception to this trend.
"Players like him would be getting offers as soon as the film comes anyway, so his offers are not surprising, but there are some others that I just don't get," he said. "I am not going to name names, but sometimes I will see kids that we have film on and we have seen in person come away from a college camp with an offer or having committed to a school and I don't know what they did at the camp to get an offer."
University of Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said film doesn't tell the whole story and that everything should be taken into account before extending an offer.
"It is all important," Stoops said. "Film is important. Seeing guys in person -- whether it is a game or a camp -- every bit helps. Video from things like the Rivals camps and the one-on-ones done there is important. It all is.
"We have limited availability as coaches to do our evaluations, so we have to make sure to factor in everything we can, any way possible -- within the rules -- and camps are another factor we have to use for (evaluations)."
Stidham has had a lot of opportunities to show what he can do because his high school is a regular stop for assistant coaches during contact and evaluation periods.
The Stephenville program was made famous under current Baylor coach Art Briles two decades ago, winning state titles in 1993, '94, '98, and '99. It also produced NFL quarterback Kevin Kolb, former Texas and Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead and often-injured former Nebraska Cornhusker Kody Spano, as well as Jones and Stidham.
"I have thrown in front of a lot of coaches who come through the school," Stidham said. "With the tradition at the position at Stephenville, we all know that there will be opportunities for us.
"That adds a little pressure because there are guys in the room who want their shot, too. I feel like the guys are very supportive of me and through thick and thin we are going to be focused on the season once we are all together."
In his latest stop -- the Texas State 7-on-7 Championships -- Stidham and his Stephenville team started the process of bonding and getting into a rhythm. He was named a top performer on the day, and it boosted his confidence again.
"Coaches just need to see me do my thing," Stidham said. "With the team we have, I think it could be a special year."
It has been a special summer, one that Stidham is happy to have been a part of.
"Getting the offers has been great," he said. "I am happy that everything has gone like it has, but there is a lot of work to get done and I can still get better."