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February 6, 2014
Rivals100 QB Stidham takes center stage
MORE: Stidham goes in-depth on Texas Tech
STEPHENVILLE, Texas -- Sometime on Wednesday, Jarrett Stidham went from what would have been a really nice get for any college program to the get of the year. Stidham and the 2015 class are now at the forefront of college football fans' imagination. This Stephenville (Texas) standout, ranked the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the nation by Rivals.com, is one of the faces of the class.
An absent face it seemed.
"I'm going to wring that boy's neck the next time I see him for you," a Stephenville High School employee said.
The SHS official was concerned that Stidham, during a chaotic Monday centered around state high school realignment, had forgotten about his interview with RedRaiderSports.com.
It wasn't like Stidham to no-show. People here know him. And they think highly of him not only as a quarterback but as a person.
He has succeeded Baylor head coach Art Briles, NFLer Kevin Kolb, Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris and fellow former Rivals100 quarterback Jevan Snead as the next big thing for the Yellow Jackets.
But Stidham wasn't standing this interview up. He was actually in contact the whole time and apologizing repeatedly for the delay.
Stidham spent most of Monday in class, working toward a December graduation. After class, he had to run around Stephenville in order to fill out and file some passport papers for a planned spring break trip.
The whole ordeal set him back about 30 minutes.
He ran down the halls of Stephenville High to his head coach's office for the interview, sat down for an extensive interview, went back home to change and then was out the door again for a team banquet celebrating the Yellow Jackets' run to the 3A Division I semifinals.
It's funny how everything sneaks up on you at once.
This town of 17,2000 has really taken Stidham, a Kentucky native who moved here
as a preteen, on as its own.
Stidham's first offer came from Texas Tech. Neal Brown and
Tommy Mainord, who were on staff at the time, spearheaded the Red Raiders'
efforts. They both joined Mark Stoops' Kentucky during the
2012-13 offseason, offered the quarterback again and are recruiting him to come
home to the Bluegrass State.
---Briles took the Stephenville coaching job in 1988. The school had not been to the playoffs since 1952. The Yellow Jackets have won five state championships since. Four with Briles and one in 2012; Stidham played receiver on that team.
"There's a lot of tradition here and coaches preach to us that here tradition never graduates," Stidham said. "In the weight room, in our locker room, it's been the same for I don't know how many years. Coach Briles laid a foundation of all of it and he's the one that kind of set everything up to be great. It's an honor to be from Stephenville and especially to play here. Coach Briles and Coach Morris, they're making millions now. Some of the best coaches around.
"Quarterbacks, Kevin Kolb is playing in the league. They've had Jevan Snead and countless other great quarterbacks. I mean some good ones. Some that hold the Texas state high school records. It's an honor to play here and to leave my own mark on it, so to say. As long as I try to do my own thing and leave my mark, it's pretty special."
There's not much to explain Stidham's football skills on the genetic level. His dad and his older brother preferred basketball growing up.
Yet the Stephenville product stands out.
He hates to throw the ball away. Every play matters.
"If no one is open I'll tuck it and run," the quarterback said. "I try not to throw it out of bounds. I know it's safe for a quarterback to do that, but I hate doing it, honestly. I like to make a play and progress the ball down the field."
Stidham is meticulous, thinks things through, has a championship pedigree and is someone who wants to add something to a program rather than inherit something that is already.
He has a great story already, and the potential is there for it to get even better.
"At the beginning of this thing, I didn't think I'd have 19 offers," Stidham said. "I had no clue. I didn't think it was possible for just a small town kid like me to have that many. But it's been exciting. Really exciting."