The pass-and-catch duo had some of the best offensive seasons in school history in 2015 while leading the Blue Raider offense to school records in scoring, total offense and passing yards.
Heading into the 2016 season, Stockstill and James have been named to the watch list for the Maxwell Award, which goes to college football’s Player of the Year. The two are the first Blue Raiders to ever be named to the watch list for the award.
“That’s special and very humbling,” Stockstill said. “I think it does kind of credit our hard work. We come to work every day, and this team comes to work, so it’s a great individual honor but we couldn’t do it without the guys around us. It’s a testament to the work ethic of our team.”
Stockstill was named to the Athlon Sports Freshman All-American Second Team and was the C-USA Freshman Player of the Year in 2015. He led all NCAA freshman by throwing for 4,005 yards – an MTSU record and C-USA freshman record – and 30 touchdowns, compared to just nine interceptions. His 327 completions also set a new NCAA freshman record.
James was named Freshman All-American by the FWAA, USA Today and Athlon sports and was placed on the C-
USA All-Freshman Team. His 108 receptions and 1,346 receiving yards set C-USA freshman and single-season MTSU all-time marks. He also became just the second Blue Raider ever to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving plateau.
While their freshman campaigns were some of the best MTSU has ever seen, both said they still have to show improvement as redshirt sophomores.
“I constantly try to do the things to stay consistent,” James said. “I try to better my teammates, also, because they are the reason why I got those awards and accomplished what I’ve accomplished so far.”
Along with James’ and Stockstill’s Maxwell watch list nominations, both are also on the lists for national awards in their respective positions – the Biletnikoff Award for James and O’Brien Award for Stockstill.
Two of their teammates – Daniel Stephens and Jeremy Cutrer – have also been placed on watch lists for their respective position’s national awards. Stephens is on the Rimington Award list, given to the nation’s best center, and Cutrer can be found on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, given to the nation’s best defensive back.
The four players’ recognition speaks to their hard work and commitment, as well as to the quality of coaches at MTSU, according to head coach Rick Stockstill.
“I tell recruits all the time, you can accomplish all of your goals here, just like you can anywhere else We know how to develop guys, and when you have kids on the Maxwell, that’s the best college player in the country, and we have two of them.”
Along with his on-the-field award watch lists, Brent Stockstill has been named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, the most revered award a college football player can get off the field. The Murfreesboro native was honored because of his community service and volunteer work.
“That’s probably the [award] I take the most pride in,” he said. “Some of the less fortunate people in the community, you can make their day by just going and hanging out with them or whatever. I’m pretty humbled by that, as well.”
Stockstill continues to do work with Special Olympics and Special Kids, as well as reading to children in local elementary schools and helping with other charitable events.
Now that the Blue Raiders are getting recognition on a national level, they are itching to show the hype is warranted by performing at a high level once they finally get back on the field.
“We’re both humbled to be on the Maxwell Award list, but we don’t focus on the awards and stuff like that,” James said. “We continue to try get better as a team, as a unit, and we continue to try and ignore the awards until later on so we can be successful.”
MTSU kicks off their season this weekend against Alabama A&M at home.