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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: Stephen Sturm, QB, Bentley University

Stephen Sturm Bentley Univerisity
QB Stephen Sturm who recently led Bentley University to the NE10 Conference Championship recently sat down with Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: Stephen Sturm
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 210 lbs
  • Position: QB
  • College: Bentley University
  • Twitter: @stephen_sturm9

Tell us about your university/college. Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?

Bentley University is a small business school located in Waltham, Massachuesetts. It’s a place full of like minded people driven towards success but also has a great balance of social life. Academics are taken very seriously and even have a competitive nature around them. The Bentley community is a tight-knit group where you feel like you know everyone on campus and this allows for a great environment to develop meaningful relationships. Outside of football, I enjoy volunteering. I am a part of Team IMPACT, an organization that connects children facing serious illness with college athletic teams. The program has taught me so much and has been such a privilege to develop a relationship of my own with my friend Liam.

How did you end up at Bentley University?

Coming out of high school, I had high expectations for myself which included playing Division One football. During recruiting, I had contact with teams ranging from FBS, FCS, and all the way down to Division 3. Even with my expectations of wanting to play Division One football, I still did my due diligence and visited with a few Division Two schools, mainly in the PSAC because they were so close to home. I remember being convinced to come to a camp at Bentley on my 17th birthday. Once I was up there, they really liked how I performed, and my QB coach and Offensive Coordinator, Keith Levan, basically told me after that if somehow I did not receive a Division One offer that they would be there and would love to have me. After things didn’t pan out as I had hoped, it was an easy choice.  Bentley had good football, was a top business school in the country, and was right outside the city of Boston.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

Either my toughness or my poise. I’m not afraid to admit I am a gritty football player and even take pride in it. I have taken my fair share of hits from defenders and always have gotten back up. I have also dealt with a number of tight football games in my career but my even-keeled nature allows me to act cool, calm, and collected in pressure situations. You could never tell by looking at me the result of the previous play. 

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

Definitely someone who leads by example. I give credit to my coaches for developing me into someone who can be dependable and be able to align everyone on the field. Being a coachable player is something important to me. Being able to adapt and adjust is something I do well and I feel like my skills set is wide enough that I can fit a variety of schemes.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

Ray Sarkodieh. It was my freshman year, and we played 9-0 Assumption the final game of the season. I threw a screen on one play and he hit me after I had let the ball go and absolutely pile drived me into the turf. It was one of the hardest hits I’ve ever taken and took the wind right out of me. That whole game he was a problem, but thankfully we ended up winning the game. 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

My guy Austin Ryan. He is my WR and one of my good friends. He had an outstanding freshman year with over 1,200 yards and 16 TD’s. Unfortunately he had battled a leg injury that took him out the entire next season. He is just now starting to get back to full strength, and I could not be more excited. He is one of the most competitive people I know, and loves the game as much as I do. 

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

During my sophomore year, the team had not been performing well and my coach decided to bench me in hopes to spark our offense. It was the first time in my football career that I had ever been benched and was one of the more humbling experiences in my life. It allowed me to truly see what it means to be a good teammate and allowed for a time of reflection. I was able to earn my spot shortly after, and it instilled in me a competitive fire that has yet to be put out. The experience taught me a valuable lesson and was something I’m glad I went through.  

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 Small School Rankings

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

Winning a conference championship this past season. It has been a goal of our team since I’ve been here and to finally get it was something special. Winning the league was amazing, but dwelling on the past is something I try not to do. Our entire team is now focused on next year. We want to defend our title and make a deep run in the playoffs.  

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

I would say my first touchdown pass. It was the sixth game of the year against AIC my freshman year, and I was the back-up QB behind a 5th year transfer from Boston College. He unfortunately had taken a hit right before half-time, which ended his season. I remember coming in the game, and the entire defense lit up with excitement to be facing a freshman QB. We were losing when I took over, and I was pretty nervous wondering if I could find the same success that I did in high school. It was late in the game when I threw the TD, and it helped seal the game for the win. I was ecstatic, and it had proved to myself that I belonged on the field and could still play.

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play?

Definitely wrestling. My childhood coach, Steve Guy, had gotten me started in wrestling, and I had wrestled from the age of 5 until I was 15. My entire family was into wrestling, and my cousins were even Division One wrestlers. I had decided after my freshman year that I needed to stop wrestling and instead workout and focus on football as I was only 160 pounds. Wrestling taught me so many things and was key in my athletic development. The sport taught me toughness and showed me what a real workout was like. I think wrestling is the hardest sport out there and one of the most physically demanding.  

What was your major/minor? Other than football, what would be your dream job?

I’m a Marketing major. Outside of football, I think my dream job would be a CEO of a company. Being able to make my own decisions and having control is important to me. 

What have you been working on in the off-season?

In the off-season I have been focusing on my footwork. Having good feet is imperative to being a good quarterback. Your feet can make or break a throw, so having perfect footwork inside and outside the pocket is something I am striving towards. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

My favoirte athlete of all-time has to be Muhammad Ali. He was just so dominant in his sport. He had ultimate confidence in himself and his charisma was infectious. Ali also stood for much more than boxing, and I have always respected that about him. My favorite team is the New York Giants. I was around 7 years old when they won a super bowl in 2007, and ever since then I’ve been a die hard fan.

I model my game after Aaron Rodgers. What I love about Rodgers is that he is a pocket passer first, but he has the ability to escape the pocket and make plays on his feet. His arm is absolutely ridiculous and he’s much more athletic  than people give him credit for. I think in terms of pure talent, Aaron Rodgers is the best to ever do it. 

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have any secret talents?

In my spare time I enjoy anything football related. Working out, watching NFL football, and watching film are things I enjoy. Outside of football, I enjoy hanging around family and friends, watching movies, and playing video games. As for secret talents, I wouldn’t really say I have any. I guess you could say my secret talent is being left handed. Being a southpaw is something rare in general, but especially playing QB. I remember being recruited in high school and having schools tell me to my face that they didn’t like me as a prospect specifically because I was left-handed. That’s something I will never forget. I use that ‘till this day for motivation and now I take pride in it being left-handed.  

Why do you play football?

As cliché as it sounds, I play for the love of the game. I know everyone says that, but it’s true. As long as I can remember, I have had a football in my hand. Throwing the ball was something always natural to me. No one ever taught me how to throw a football, I just kinda did it. Everything about the sport I just fell in love with. 

Who or what motivates you the most?

My teammates and coaches. Collectively our group works incredibly hard. We put in so much time and effort into this game. They put their faith in me and expect me to do the right thing. Letting down those people is something I just cannot do. Loyalty is something very important to me. If I open up to someone and consider them a loyal friend then I will go to the end of the Earth for them, and that is something I can confidently say I have with my teammates and coaches.

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