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2008 Football Roster

Rick Stockstill

Head Coach

In his first two years at the helm of the MTSU program, Rick Stockstill has taken the Blue Raiders to unprecedented heights. During his short tenure, the Blue Raiders have captured a league title, played in a postseason bowl game, and been on national television a record five times.

Over the past two seasons, Stockstill's teams have consistently been among the least penalized in the conference, own a combined plus-18 turnover margin, have amassed more sacks than any team in the league (65), and have produced the Sun Belt's top touchdown scorer each year.

Also during his tenure, the Blue Raiders have won 10 of 14 conference games and been victorious 75 percent of the time away from home in league play. In 2008, defensive end Erik Walden was taken in the sixth round of the NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and offensive lineman Franklin Dunbar signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Off the field, Stockstill made an immediate impact as well by dramatically improving the team's APR from 892 to 958. He has also seen the team's GPA increase each semester he has been at MTSU while an average of 34 players each semester have topped the 3.0 GPA mark.

After 24 years as an assistant, Stockstill was given the chance to run his own program, and all he did was lead the Blue Raiders to a 2006 Sun Belt Conference championship, help set a new single-season attendance record, and take the program to its first postseason bowl game in the I-A era. In taking a MTSU team predicted to finish sixth in the Sun Belt during the preseason to a league title, Stockstill was also crowned the 2006 Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year and the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year while also garnering that honor from ESPN.com.

During the 2006 championship run, Stockstill and his staff developed an All-American, 11 all-conference players, 11 SBC Player of the Week winners, a consensus National Defensive Player of the Week (Damon Nickson won the Walter Camp and the Bronco Nagurski awards), and the school's all-time sacks leader (Erik Walden). Not bad considering only three Blue Raiders were named to the All-SBC Preseason team as voted on by league coaches and media.

A benchmark of all championship teams is the ability to win away from home, and Stockstill's Blue Raiders demonstrated their mental toughness by winning a league-best four Sun Belt Conference road games on the way to a school-record six conference wins in all. In fact, MTSU's road success was among the best in college football in 2006, when only 10 other teams won as many conference road games (Arkansas, Auburn, Boise State, BYU, Ohio, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, USC, Wake Forest). In two years, Stockstill's teams are a combined 6-2 in SBC road games.

It is said you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with, and Stockstill assembled a championship staff well before he coached his first game. Stockstill's staff sports two Super Bowl rings, three National Championships, 53 bowl rings, and 142 years of coaching experience.

Along with his extensive background in collegiate coaching circles, the driven and determined Stockstill also has had the advantage of working alongside some of the greatest minds in college football history. These experiences were evident in his highly successful first season at the helm.

Stockstill, who made his way to Murfreesboro after spending the previous two years at South Carolina, has worked with legendary coaches Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier, Danny Ford, Tommy Bowden, Ken Hatfield, and Tommy West.

Stockstill demonstrated the ability to develop and coach big-time players throughout his 24-year college coaching career. He joined the Gamecock staff in December 2003 and immediately made an impact in recruiting. Stockstill coached the Gamecock tight ends and served as recruiting coordinator in 2005 and was the wide receiver coach in 2004.

Before joining Holtz' staff at South Carolina, Stockstill was the offensive coordinator at East Carolina in 2003.

In his first year at South Carolina, Stockstill coached Troy Williamson to one of the best seasons ever for a Gamecock receiver. Williamson made 43 receptions for 835 yards (75.9 per game average) and seven touchdowns. Williamson's 835 receiving yards put him among the single-season leaders at USC, along with his seven touchdowns. Williamson was taken as the seventh pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

In addition to his on-field coaching at Carolina, Stockstill coordinated the signing of a top-20 recruiting class for the Gamecocks in his first season and was recognized as one of the top 25 recruiters in the nation by Rivals.com.

From 1989 to 2002, Stockstill was on the coaching staff at Clemson, where he helped lead the Tigers to some of their most proficient offensive performances in school history. He served in a variety of capacities during his tenure with Clemson, working as recruiting coordinator, wide receivers coach, co-offensive coordinator, passing game coordinator, and quarterbacks coach. One of his prize pupils was All-America wide receiver Rod Gardner, who was the number 15 pick of the 2001 NFL Draft. Stockstill played an integral role in Clemson's offense, which set more than 100 school records from 1998 to 2002.

Also recognized as a top-notch recruiter, Stockstill is credited with recruiting Clemson's all-time leading rusher (Raymond Priester), second all-time leading passer (Woodrow Dantzler), and all-time leading receivers (Derrick Hamilton and Rod Gardner). Stockstill coached in 12 bowl games before taking the Blue Raiders to the 2006 Motor City Bowl for his 13th.

Stockstill also has coaching experience at the University of Central Florida (1985-88), where he tutored wide receiver Shawn Jefferson, who went on to a 13-year career in the NFL, and at Bethune-Cookman College (1983-84).

Born Dec. 23 in Sidney, Ohio, Stockstill grew up in Georgetown, Ky., and then moved to Fernandina Beach, Fla., where he was inducted into the Fernandina Beach Hall of Fame in 2006. He was a three-year letterman at Florida State as a quarterback, where he was team captain and earned honorable mention All-America honors in 1981 under Coach Bobby Bowden. During his career at FSU, the Seminoles had two top-10 final Associated Press rankings and had wins over powers Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Ohio State, and Nebraska. Stockstill, who received his bachelor's degree from FSU in 1982, made three bowl trips with the Seminoles.

Stockstill and his wife, the former Sara Fleischman, have a son, Brent, and a daughter, Emily.