Warriors are getting a second Stutzmann
When Craig Stutzmann announced his intention to sign with Hawaii the day after his final high school game, his November commitment was considered pretty early by 1997 standards.
A little more than a decade later, Stutzmann's younger brother didn't wait even that long.
Billy Ray Stutzmann, another Saint Louis receiver, made his decision to accept a scholarship offer from Hawaii on Monday, close to a month before the start of his senior season with the Crusaders.
"The whole process has changed from when Craig played," said Bill Stutzmann, the father of the duo. "Now the recruiting's pretty much done when the kids are in their junior year. Before it was the senior year was big, now it's the junior year."
Billy Ray Stutzmann, a second-team All-State pick last fall, was offered a scholarship in February, shortly after the new UH staff completed its first recruiting class. He also considered Oregon State, Washington State, Washington, Colorado and Notre Dame, but "I can put that stuff away now and keep them as souvenirs," he said.
Stutzmann, who is participating in the UH Football Skills Camp this week, said not having to worry about what's next will help him savor his senior year at Saint Louis.
"It feels great to get that load off my shoulders. I feel a lot more comfortable now," he said.
"(It wasn't) a tough decision, UH had everything I wanted. The coaches, they're getting new facilities here soon, the offense, the atmosphere."
Said his father: "Honestly, I could see the change in him (Monday) night. He was more relaxed - all the hard work and sacrifice paid off."
Craig Stutzmann, a UH slotback from 1998 to 2001, committed to the Warriors shortly after helping Saint Louis to a Prep Bowl victory in the fall of his senior season. As he continued his playing career, he passed along tips to his younger brother, sometimes organizing passing drills in the living room when Billy Ray's friends would come over.
"I always wanted him to be better and have him set his own path," said Craig, now a graduate assistant with the Warriors. "He's gone to the same schools as I did, but he's his own person. He's a special kid and he's a great student."
"Craig at times is hard on him, but in a positive way," Bill said. "There were little things that he taught Billy other kids don't really get because Craig went through it."
In keeping with his accelerated timetable, Billy Ray could join the Warriors by the spring, as he's working toward graduating from Saint Louis in the fall, an accomplishment that required some foresight and planning as far back as his freshman year.
"To make a decision like that four years ago, that kind of commitment makes you proud as a brother," Craig Stutzmann said. "That's a pretty mature decision for someone that age."