Brock Stadnik gets the star treatment
Homecoming. A pep rally. All that was missing was a red carpet.
Administrators at Western Guilford High School in Greensboro, N.C., pulled out all the stops for the official invitation of Brock Stadnik to the Under Armour All-America Game.
"My coach wanted it that way," Stadnik said. "He wanted the whole school to be a part of it because I'm his first All-American. He's very excited about it. He wants to make it a big deal. I'm very excited about that."
Coach Chris Causey is surely showing some appreciation for his star player. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Stadnik became a starter almost as soon as he walked through the front door at Western Guilford, starting four seasons at left tackle.
"I think the biggest thing about Brock is he's a tough kid. He's got a defensive mentality on the offensive line," Causey said. "He's a very physical, aggressive, tough kid."
Causey knew what he had in Stadnik as a freshman, who already looked like a lean offensive lineman. As for his twin brother, Clayton Stadnik, it took a while for him to find his football home.
"When they came in, it reminded me a little bit of the movie 'Twins' with Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger because Brock was 6-4, 240 to 245 and Clayton was probably 5-8, 170," Causey said. "He came in as a strong safety, outside linebacker, tight end type. Really after his freshman year, he got in the weight room, he worked hard, but he just hit that grown spurt."
Now, Clayton is more like 6-3 and 280 with great mobility, perhaps better than his higher-rated brother. Clayton is also a bit more versatile than Brock since he's played center, guard and tackle at Western Guilford. The athleticism from both brothers wasn't a surprise. Their father played at Western Illinois, then played three seasons in the USFL and one season with the San Diego Chargers.
Brock and Clayton are both committed to play football for South Carolina. Clayton is expected to play center while Brock expects to play tackle. Causey describes Clayton as the talkative brother, while Brock is a bit more reserved.
"He's almost like a gentle giant in the classroom," Causey said. "I've taught him in the classroom. He's a 'Yes sir, no sir' (student). He's a straight A student. He's fun to have in class because he's involved in discussions and things, but when he steps across the lines, he's tough and physical."
Brock can also be tough and physical with his brother when the time calls for the two to be competitive.
"It's very competitive in everything we do, whether it's who's going to sit down and watch T.V. first or who's going to start the (weightlifting) set first," Brock said. "On the football field, sometimes we like to get after it and show who's boss, especially in the offseason when we were working on our pass protection. We would go against each other to get better. There's so much fire that's generated when we're competing. We both don't want to lose."
Yet there were no hard feelings when Brock received the invite from the Under Armour Game to be held on Jan. 5 and Clayton did not.
"It really doesn't matter to me," Clayton said. "I'm just happy for my brother that he made the All-American team. I'll obviously watch him when goes down there and support him."
Said Brock, "He was very excited for me. He's my biggest fan. He's never going to be against me in anyway. He's always very happy for me."
Just a few days after the Under Armour game, the two brothers will enroll at South Carolina. Deep down, Brock always knew he'd play college football with his brother, if given the opportunity.
"In the beginning, I didn't really tell anyone that and I didn't think too much about it, but when it came down to it, that was the best decision for both of us," said Brock, who picked the Gamecocks over Virginia Tech, Florida, Auburn and Wake Forest.
Brock is still genuinely taken aback by the opportunity to play four more years with his brother.
"It's really just mind blowing, just to imagine that we're going to be on the field playing in the SEC against the best schools together," Brock said. "Just having that built-in friendship right next to me to travel with and learn from, it's just going to be exciting for both of us to be playing together. I'm really looking forward to that."
Clayton wholeheartedly agreed.
"I'm more than excited," he said. "A lot of people don't have this opportunity. It just makes me realize how lucky I am, that me and my brother can go to the same college."
First, there's a few more high school games and one all-star event to participate in.
"I've been watching the Under Armour game ever since it came out," Brock said. "I always kind of dreamed about playing in it. I always hoped -- and kind of knew -- I would get there someday if I kept working hard. It's amazing that it's coming true. I know I'm going to have so much fun going down to Florida and playing on TV. It's exciting."
Dave Hooker covers Southeast and Atlantic Coast recruiting. He has covered recruiting and college football for more than a decade. Email him at email@example.com.