Stidham added Tennessee to his offer sheet after taking in the Knoxville, Tenn., campus on Tuesday. Entering the weekend, he didn’t even know he’d be in the state.
“I was camping in Kentucky and visiting there,” said Stidham, who grew up in Kentucky before moving to Texas. “[Offensive graduate assistant] Coach [Cody] Kempt told my head coach that he really would love to have me come down. I’d never talked to him. That was on a Friday, and I ended up calling him Sunday night.
“It was out of the blue, but I was definitely pumped when Coach [Butch] Jones told me he wanted me.”
Tennessee is offer No. 6 for Stidham, a 6-foot-3, 183-pound quarterback with only three varsity passes under his belt. Stidham, ranked No. 155 in the ESPN Junior 300, played wide receiver last season for Stephenville, which won the Texas Class 3A Division I state championship. Stidham’s talent level at quarterback has been proven in summer camps and 7-on-7 tournaments, and he has additional offers from Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor and Kentucky.
Stidham was born in Corbin, Ky., roughly 90 minutes north of Knoxville. He was raised in Richmond, Ky., which is roughly 20 miles south of Lexington, and he grew up watching the Kentucky Wildcats in both football and basketball. Although Kentucky was his team to watch, one Tennessee player in particular was his sports role model.
“Peyton Manning always has been and always will be my favorite football player. My parents can attest to that,” Stidham said. “I love how he plays the game. The coaches were telling me that Peyton invests a lot of time in Tennessee and comes back to work out with the guys. That’s pretty cool to me.”
Because of his varsity success at receiver, Stidham is classified as an athlete. He is the No. 12 athlete in the nation. Stidham said he is finished with camps and unofficial visits for the summer and will rest his body to focus on Stephenville's upcoming two-a-day workouts in the next couple of week.