If Jarrett Stidham is to be the successor to Tom Brady at quarterback for the New England Patriots, it’s a situation he is ready to embrace.
After a strong collegiate career, Stidham entered the NFL Draft after his junior season and was taken in the fourth round by New England. With an opportunity to learn under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, Stidham has already showcased his accuracy and is competing for the backup job.
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It’s no doubt there is a ton of pressure on the rookie quarterback, but Stidham is no stranger to pressure.
He’s played in power-5 college markets like Baylor and Auburn after a high school career in Texas. And now, he is being groomed to be the next Patriots quarterback under Brady.
Friday Night Lights
Stidham was the subject of a Bleacher Report profile in his senior season at Stephenville High School, a program in central Texas that had won five state championship over a 25-year span. The video mentions a sentiment echoed in the movie “Friday Night Lights” that you’re only remembered if you win a state title.
Unfortunately for Stidham, he was unable to bring home the top prize despite a tremendous senior season. He threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for 969 yards and 15 more scores.
Stidham held himself to a high standard even as a young player. This winning mentality and competitive edge are similar to what Brady has exhibited throughout his career.
Toughness Can’t Be Measured
As a freshman at Baylor, Stidham was named backup and even got a few snaps in each of his first seven games. During his abbreviated action, he was 24 of 28 with 331 yards and six touchdowns.
When the starter, Seth Russell, went down injured, Stidham stepped up delivering a 400-yard passing performance in his first career start. But what defined his freshman year was his toughness both mentally and physically.
He stayed poised despite being a backup and earned his right to start late in the year. He also played through injury after tweaking his back. Though he missed his team’s bowl game due to a foot injury, he attempted to work his way back in time but was ultimately not cleared.
After a sexual abuse scandal rocked the Baylor program, Stidham’s career was in jeopardy though he never gave up hope of a football future.
To take big hits as a true freshman and to still have the nerve to play through pain takes character. If Stidham can withstand hits with confidence and improve his durability, he can play in the NFL.
Stidham opened training camp with a bang, proving to be one of the most accurate quarterbacks to come through the Patriots system as a rookie in quite some time. Since high school, he’s had the ability to sneak passes into tight windows and read opposing defenses.
It’s something Stidham was heralded for coming out of college. In 2017, he completed 66.5 percent of his passes for 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns earning First-Team All-SEC honors.
In preseason, Stidham has already taken second-team reps on a few occasions and has garnered praise from his teammates for his early signs of improvement.
It’s early, but Stidham is already someone Patriots’ nation should pay attention to in the coming years.