Ever since watching his first football game as a young kid, John Stull has dreamed of playing college football for the Missouri Tigers. That dream is now reality. The senior from Rock Bridge gave Missouri a verbal commitment Tuesday night.
“It lifts a tremendous amount of pressure off my shoulders,” Stull said. “I’m really excited and I feel I can play better in the games now because I can play without a worry and get after it and do my thing.”
Stull has lived in Columbia his entire life. He said he has gone to Tigers football games with his dad and has followed their history since he was a young child.
“I’ve always known I wanted to be a Tiger and it just seems more reasonable for me to stay in Columbia and play on a team that I’ve always known,” Stull said.
Unlike most recruits who are sought out during their junior years, Stull flew under the radar because of an injury in preseason practice that forced him to miss his entire junior season.
“It was just a freak accident during preseason and I separated my shoulder and I broke my humerus and separated a couple of ribs during seven-on-seven,” Stull said. “I had some nerve damage so it put me out for the season.”
After that injury, the 6-foot-4, 245-
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pound defensive end said there was a point last year where he didn’t even know if he would play football this season. However, after talking with Bruins coach A.J. Ofodile, who told him that earning a college scholarship was still possible, even after missing his junior year, Stull decided to come back and work harder than ever before to achieve his goal.
“Those are the kind of guys that you’re more happy about than anything,” Ofodile said. “There are guys sometimes with great talent and it’s a given that they’re going to be a Division I guy and get all the accolades that come with that talent. They were just born that way. But he’s a guy that cultivated his talent. He started from the ground up, worked his way into a physically impressive guy, worked on his skills of the game, and then you know the picture you get is a talented football player that is really physically gifted but the exciting part is that he worked to be that way and reap the rewards of it.”
Stull has led a revamped Bruins defense this season with his physical presence. In five games he has amassed 24 tackles and four sacks. Stull is the third Bruins player in the last three years to earn a scholarship to play for Missouri. Quarterback Chase Patton and linebacker Van Alexander are currently redshirt freshmen. Stull said having those guys there will make things a lot easier for him, allowing him to feel more comfortable around the whole setting.
Ofodile said Stull has an outstanding attitude in which he always is going to do whatever is asked of him, something he said he doesn’t see in most players as much today as in the past.
“He trusts whatever we tell him, goes at it 100 mph, and you know part of the process in getting here was that he believed in some of the things that we preach as far as weight room, work ethic and attitude and some of those things,” Ofodile said. “Him getting rewarded for that is a really, really big deal.”
Verbal commitments for recruits are non-binding. Recruits can make their commitments official on national signing day, which is in early February.