Cody Stufflebean never thought of himself as a heralded football recruit.
Not when he received his first scholarship offer from Akron, not when bigger schools like Colorado, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin got involved ... not even when he committed to Kansas State over the weekend.
“I still catch myself thinking, wow, this crazy,” Stufflebean said during a phone interview Monday. “A couple years ago I didn’t really think I had a chance at going to this level of school. Then I started getting a little bigger and developing, and the attention started to become normal. But I definitely wouldn’t say I love it, because I am a quiet guy. I’m not quite used to it.”
Perhaps that is why it was a relatively easy for Stufflebean to end his recruitment early and pledge his services to the Wildcats before checking out what most of his other suitors had to offer.
Stufflebean, a 6-foot-4 standout who plays both tight end and defensive end for McPherson, has been attending K-State football games with his family since he was in first grade. He is a fan.
“That’s the way I was raised up,” he said. “I was always around K-State. It’s a little different with Coach (Chris) Klieman coming in, but I definitely have a lot of trust in him. He seems like a guy you want to be around. He is very honest and down to earth.”
The Wildcats shot to the top of Stufflebean’s list when they offered a scholarship last week and they landed his commitment shortly after.
Every time he brought up the possibility of taking a recruiting visit to a place like Wisconsin, his friends, including fellow K-State pledge Nate Matlack, encouraged him to stay close to home.
Then he saw the Wildcats land four other pledges last week. And he began to wonder: why wait?
“Recruiting is really starting to blow up for K-State,” Stufflebean said. “There were only about three spots left for me and that is kind of where my dream school has been. I have always wanted to go there. I’m not going to lose my spot. Might as well commit now.”
That’s exactly what he did.
The response has been overwhelming.
“I’ve been getting a lot of love from all of the players and the community and the fans,” Stufflebean said. “It is definitely a great feeling to be coming into something like that.”
Stufflebean looks like a valuable addition to Chris Klieman’s 2020 recruiting class. Rivals rates him as a three-star prospect and the No. 10 recruit in the Sunflower State. The Wildcats have struggled to win recruiting battles with other power-conference teams in recent years, but they beat out some big names for his services.
He could also help K-State on either side of the ball when he arrives on campus after his senior year of high school. Stufflebean is a natural athlete who also plays basketball and throws shot put at McPherson.
Defensive end is his most comfortable position, but he hopes to improve as a route-runner this summer and become more effective on offense next season. He is working on his craft all week at a football camp in Hays.
He is prepared to play either spot for the Wildcats.
Stufflebean may not feel like a heralded football recruit, but he wants to perform like one when he arrives in Manhattan.