The recent Clemson commitment and senior at Dublin (OH) Coffman High School was born in Greenville, when his parents lived here in the early 90’s, and the Stoudts still have plenty of friends and family in the area.
Stoudt was a visitor at Clemson a few weeks ago, and despite the good feelings he got from visiting the campus and being a part of the game day atmosphere, committed to the University of Wyoming a few days later.
Last Friday, however, that all changed as Stoudt called Clemson offensive coordinator Billy Napier and told him he was going to be a Tiger.
“It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made,” Stoudt told TigerNet Tuesday evening. “I love both programs. Both are great schools, are great scholastically, and have great coaches. It just came down to gut instinct. I am more comfortable at Clemson, and I will be closer to family. Plus, I have a lot of friends down there. I had many conversations with my parents that lasted for hours and hours about my next move.”
In the end, the pull of a home he knew only briefly won out.
“Like I said, it was just my gut instinct,” he said. “It was who I felt most comfortable with, and I loved the school. I was born in Greenville. I am a southern kid.”
The close connection to Greenville was made even more evident when the family finally got to their seats in Death Valley.
“Our next door neighbors from Greenville were there,” Stoudt said. “We had been sitting there for maybe five minutes in our seats at the Clemson game, when they came running up and saying ‘Hey, we can’t believe you’re here.’ They were also my pediatrician when I was born. It was great seeing them.”
Stoudt comes from a quarterback pedigree – both from his family and his high school.
His father Cliff played professional football for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Birmingham Stallions, St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys in a career that lasted from 1977-1991.
His brother Zack started his collegiate career at Louisville, but now plays quarterback for Iowa Western Junior College. He has offers from Wyoming, Ohio and Toledo.
Coffman also has a reputation for molding good quarterbacks, sending seven quarterbacks on to play Division I football since 2000. His predecessors under center at Coffman include Brady Quinn [Notre Dame, Denver Broncos], Josh Febus [Miami, OH] and his brother.
He said that pedigree only helps when it comes to playing quarterback.
“It helps a ton, because I feel like I have coaches on and off the field,” he said. “My brother played here at Coffman and he still comes back, and my dad knows football like no other. It’s great, because they both know the game so well. I feel like I am well-coached, 24-7.”
Despite the looming specter of football around the clock, Stoudt says he makes sure that when he’s in the huddle, he doesn’t let any of his teammates get too uptight. He will call plays by mimicking Forrest Gump, or even using a British accent. He even throws out the occasional one-liner.
“It’s just something fun I do to keep everybody relaxed,” he said. “I think that everybody plays better when they are relaxed. So far, it has worked out pretty well.”
Stoudt also knows adversity after having his leg broken during the middle of last season. He had two screws inserted, and said the leg is better than ever.
“It was the seventh game of the season, second drive of the game,” he said. “The play was a quarterback draw, and I got about 20 yards down the field and cut back to my right. The corner tackled low, and I didn’t see him. His helmet hit my leg, and I ended up breaking my femur.
“I had the two screws inserted, and then I started rehab about two weeks after that. I was up and running by January, and started throwing in March. The leg is better, and I am faster and stronger than I was before it happened. It made me work harder and made me more dedicated so I could get back with my teammates.”
Stoudt is ranked as the No. 19 pro-style quarterback in the country, but said he believes his game is not just about passing.
“My dad says my brother is like Tom Brady, because he sits in the pocket,” he said. “I think I play more like Tim Tebow. I will throw it a lot, but I might also run. I might slide and get out of bounds, but I like to go out and get some contact occasionally. I will run when I have to. I am the kind of quarterback that if I need to get one yard, I will get that one yard, even if I have to run over a big dude to get it.”
He said he had a game a couple of weeks ago that illustrated that point perfectly.
“There were a couple of times when there was just nothing open,” he said. “They were dropping everybody back into coverage because we had thrown it so much. So I went out and I got five yards, seven yards. That was pretty much all we needed to keep the drive alive. If we need three yards, then I am going to run four yards and get a first down and live to play another down.”