Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas


November 27, 2012

H.O.T. Bowl: Dawgs' Studdard follows steady flow of linemen in family

Corsicana — Standing 6-foot-1, Navarro College center John Studdard should feel cheated by the gene genie.

After all, he has six relatives who stand at least 6-4, four of whom starred on the offensive line at the University of Texas and three who played long, distinguished careers in the National Football League.

But that’s what you get when dad is 6-6 and mom is 5-1.

“I don’t have any control over my height, so I make the most of what I have,” said Studdard, who will start at center for the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs on Saturday against No. 20 Georgia Military in the Heart of Texas Bowl in Copperas Cove. “I just go out there and be the best offensive line technician I can be and the success will come for me and for my team.”

Since Studdard beat out eventual Division I Florida International University signee Delmar Taylor three games into his freshman season, the Bulldogs have gone 19-3 and have led the NJCAA in rushing for much of 2012, racking up more than 310 yards per game.

It’s interesting to scan Navarro’s offensive line as it approaches the line of scrimmage this season. With Aleon Calhoun, Mitchell Bell, Zach Fondal and Carter Wall, who all stand at least 6-4, you see a significant dip when you see the middle of the very productive Bulldog offensive line.

But Studdard has been the proverbial lynchpin to that group, calling the blocking schemes and making adjustments prior to the snap. Studdard quickly caught the eye of Navarro Offensive Line Coach Cody Crill.

“John is really smart out there,” Crill said. “The center has to make a lot of calls and he’s able to do that easily and rarely makes a mistake. There’s not a better center I’ve ever coached.”

The feeling is mutual. Studdard credits Crill’s ability to ready the Hutto High School graduate for college level competition, often against significantly bigger foes.

“(Crill) is the best coach I’ve ever had,” he said. “He knows a lot about the game and he’s great at transferring that knowledge to us.

“If I did not have the best technique, I was not going to have a chance to play against those bigger guys. Coach Crill helped me get where I needed to be.”

For the remainder of Studdard’s family, there’s rarely a holiday table discussion about playing undersized at their respective former offensive line positions.

It started with great uncle Howard Fest, who starred at Texas and then played 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers while having the nickname “Mr. Consistency.”  Uncles Claude and Gary Fest also played at Baylor and Texas A&I, respectively.

John’s father Les Studdard played at Texas and then with the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers. Uncle Dave Studdard graduated at UT and then played for the Denver Broncos from 1979-88. Uncle Robert Studdard played at Texas before blowing out a knee.

And there’s cousin Kasey, son of Dave, who starts on the offensive line for the Houston Texans who at last check are 10-1 and homing in on home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

So did John ever feel genetically shortchanged?

“No, not really,” he said. “It’s just how things worked out with a 6-6 dad and a mom who is 5-1. I guess I got caught a little in the middle. But I’m still making the most of my opportunities.”

With such a strong University of Texas lineage in the family, it was a given that John would grow into a stellar high school offensive lineman and then follow a worn path of the Fest and Studdard boys onto the 40 acres in Austin.

But John suffered a significant injury to his L4-5 vertebrae as a junior guard at Hutto. He missed all but two games of his junior year, falling off recruiters’ radars. Except for Navarro’s Nick Bobeck, who watched film of an excellent senior year and offered Studdard.

“I was out hunting a few days before Christmas when (Bobeck) called,” Studdard said. “I was excited about the opportunity because I knew how high a level of ball Navarro plays every year.

“Sure, there was pressure on me to go to Texas and to play at Texas. That’s always what I was going to do. But then the back injury and not being the ideal size to play there and that just didn’t work out.  But my dad has been great. He encouraged me to go wherever I want and not to feel the pressure to fill anyone’s shoes in the family. As long as I’m happy and somebody else is paying for my college, my dad was going to be happy for me.”

Now recruiting is on again. Studdard has had significant looks from several FCS powers seeking a smart, proven center, but he’d like to play at Sam Houston State, where younger brother Jacob is a redshirt freshman linebacker.

“There are certain places I would rather go, but Sam Houston is on top of my list right now,” he said. “I’m always going to be a big Texas fan, but I just want to find a place right now that will make me happy on the field and allow me to get a good degree. That’s all a guy could ask for.”


Text Only
  • Dawson VB.jpg GC Volleyball Summer Tour: Dawson eyes playoffs

    Nothing feels the same at Dawson.
    It's not only a new season in a new district but second-year Coach Alica Sexton enters the year after having a full season with her kids — a season that revamped the program at Dawson, where they hadn't won in years.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • I7-31-14 Mayper.jpg Navarro Football: Nothing changes for success-minded Bulldogs

    It didn't take long for Navarro football Coach Brian Mayper  to deliver his preseason message at the SWJCFC Media Day Thursday.
    “No surprises at Navarro,'' said Mayper, the first of the seven conference coaches to speak to the media. “We're running the same stuff. You guys know we're going to run the ball. And thank God, we're not changes defenses again this year.''
    Mayper's real message is that life at Navarro is all about winning, and all about a culture that expects to win.
    “We expect to win them all. If you don't, you're in the wrong business,'' Mayper said. “I think our kids expect it, too.''

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-31-14 Jae.jpg GC Volleyball Summer Tour: Frost set for a big season

    Everybody's back at Frost.
    Yes, everybody.
    “This will probably never happen again,'' said Frost volleyball Coach Elaine Woods, who returns every player from last year's team.
    They are not only back, but they are talented — arguably the most talented group of volleyball players in Frost history.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30-14 Davis.jpg Former Cowboy Keith Davis delivers motivational speech

    Keith Davis believes in dreams.
    He lived his.
    That was one of the messages Davis, a former Dallas Cowboys safety, delivered to a standing-room-only crowd of youngsters Tuesday at the Boys & Girls Club, where he spoke with enthusiasm and energy about life inside and outside of the NFL.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30 web Wortham TTBA picture.jpg TTBB: Wortham takes second at state tournament

    The Wortham Bulldogs made an impressive run at the Texas Teenage Baseball Association High School Eligible State Tournament in Buffalo and took second in the state.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29-14 tiger sharks.jpg Tiger Sharks make splash at state meet

    There are leaps and bounds, and then there's what the Corsicana YMCA Tiger Sharks did over the weekend at the Lone Star state swimming meet in Frisco.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-27 Shimonek all-star.jpg Mildred's Shimonek transferring from Iowa, will walk on at Texas Tech

    Former Mildred quarterback and Golden Circle Del Thrash Player of the Year Nic Shimonek is leaving the University of Iowa after one red-shirt year and transferring to Texas Tech because of Iowa's pro-style offense.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • GC Baseball/Softball: Mildred names Zamzow new baseball coach; AD Chambliess to coach softball again

         The Mildred Eagles didn’t have to go far to find a new baseball coach to replace Aaron Tidwell, who left the diamond to take the job as the principal of Mildred High School.
        On Saturday, Mildred named softball coach Brett Zamzow its new baseball coach as Zamzow, who was Tidwell's assistant for five years,  moves back to baseball after spending a year coaching softball.
        To complete the move Mildred Athletic Director Billy Dan Chambliess will take over the softball team. Chambliess, who is the head football coach, spent fours years coaching softball before becoming the school’s AD last year. All four of his teams won district titles.

    July 26, 2014

  • RON MORGAN.jpg Morgan; Remembering House and a better era

    The Cowboys started training camp the same week that Robert Newhouse died.
    In a way, that’s very unfortunate for Jerry. Thinking back to the “Human Bowling Ball” and the teams of that era might lead to the inevitable comparisons to today’s product on the field.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • weights.jpg GC Football: Blooming Grove's Williams expects to win

    His father was a head coach for years at Pecos High and his brother-in-law is the head football coach at DeSoto, but Lawrence Williams Jr., a man who loves coaching football, never had any ideas about being the head man.
    “I love coaching,'' said Williams as he sat at his desk in Blooming Grove, where he became the Lions' head coach this summer. “I just never thought about being the head coach and I never applied to be a head coach. With this job I can still coach.''

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Twitter Updates