On the football field, Cody Stufflebean of McPherson High School is a man amongst boys at defensive end. Now division-1 schools are starting to take notice. For Stufflebean, it's becoming the norm dealing with the recruiting process throughout his offseason.
"It's definitely great to still be talking to all these coaches, but it's starting to get more normal that I'm talking to them, but it's not as crazy to casually talk to D-1 coaches at night anymore," Stufflebean said.
Stufflebean had a dominating junior season for the Bullpups. He led the defense with 33 total tackles (13.0 tackles-for-loss) and seven sacks. Stufflebean also saw playing time at tight end, mainly for blocking purposes. Arguably, his best game was in the Class 4A State Semifinals when he recorded three sacks and 1.5 tackles in a 15-14 loss against Goddard High School. He is rated as a three-star according to both 24/7 sports.com and Rivals.com
Stufflebean created a buzz after his invite at the Sharp Performance, an athletic training facility located in Salina. Founder Jake Sharp, former running back at Kansas University, personally trained Stufflebean and other elite athletes in the state. Sharpe tested Stufflebean's measurements during his combine last April.
"With Cody, we mostly focused on functional moving patterns. Things that will keep him healthy in the game," Sharp said. "He's already a strong, athletic player, and the No. 1 concern is longevity and being able to keep him on the field for many years to go."
Stufflebean measured in at 6-foot-4 232 pounds. He ran a 4.79 in the 40-yard dash and rep 12 times in the 225 bench press. He also jumped 31 inches in the vertical and 9-foot-2 in the broad jump. Three days later, Stufflebean received his first division-1 offer, which was the University of Akron. Letters kept piling up since then. Sharpe was not surprised.
"I think it's his upside," Sharpe said. "I think he's still raw and has a lot of building up to do physically, and he's already a specimen so I think they see as a guy who can really play a lot of positions and can really mold whatever specific execution they are going to need for depth."
Stufflebean got offers from Toledo, Kent State, Air Force, Army, Ohio, South Dakota State, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, and eventually, Kansas State.
It's no secret that Stufflebean has been a long-time Kansas State fan. Throughout his childhood, all he knows was purple and gray. Once the Wildcats offered him, there was nothing but pure excitement in the Stufflebean household.
"It's great. I have been talking to Taylor (Braet). He's their head recruiter there. I've been talking to him a lot," Stufflebean said. "I'm pretty excited. Got to see my mom and dad— they're both happy about it."
For now, Stufflebean will continue to weigh his options and will decide on his commitment by the end of June, early July.
After that, he will be focusing on the 2019 season. Outside of bringing home a state football title to McPherson for the first time in school history, he wants to break all the McPherson sacking records and receive all-state honors.
McPherson's home opener will be on Sept. 6. against Salina South High School at 7 p.m.
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