For 28 years, Kelly Stouffer reigned as the top passer in CSU football history. Saturday he returns to campus to watch the new BPOC (Big Passer on Campus), Garrett Grayson.
Stouffer, who starred for the Rams from 1984-86 before being taken in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft, will be doing the color commentary for ESPNU’s broadcast of the Rams’ game against Hawaii. He’s looking forward to the opportunity to talk about the Rams and their 8-1 start to the season.
“I’m really interested in seeing them in person,” Stouffer said from his home outside tiny Rushville, Neb. “When I turn on film of Colorado State the thing that strikes me is they are extremely well-coached. It’s exciting to see them doing so well.”
Though Stouffer is considered one of the finest quarterbacks in CSU history, he never got to experience a season like the one current Rams are enjoying. CSU went 6-5 his senior season but never played in a bowl game.
From star QB to family man
Stouffer went on to play five seasons in the NFL, primarily as a backup, with only modest success. He settled into a quiet life on his ranch north of Rushville, his hometown, with his wife and four children.
Eleven years ago, Stouffer entered a new career as a TV commentator, working four years with ESPN, four years with Vs. (now CBS Sports Network) and the past three with ESPN. His maturation as a color commentator has given him a coveted gig calling college football games.
“I think I really grew during my time with Vs.,” he said. “I learned to embrace my story, which is different from the next guy in this business. I’m kind of the antithesis of Troy Aikman (the former Dallas Cowboys star and Hall of Famer who now covers NFL games for Fox). I know what it’s like to throw three interceptions on Monday Night Football – I know what that feels like.
“When I embraced my story I became bolder and more opinionated, but I still like to think I’m very fair. I think fans and coaches appreciate that.”
Kelly Stouffer was CSU’s starting quarterback from 1984-86. He left as the school’s all-time leader with 7,142 passing yards — a record that stood until current Ram quarterback Garrett Grayson broke the record earlier this season.
Kelly Stouffer 7,142
Terry Nugent 7,103
Moses Moreno 6,986
Caleb Hanie 6,337
Family Ram tradition
While Stouffer rarely gets the chance to work at a CSU game, he’s a frequent campus visitor. His daughter, Maci, is an infielder for the CSU softball team, and the Stouffer family tries to watch as many games as they can in the spring.
During the fall, though, it’s all football. So he was well aware coming into this season that Grayson, the Rams’ starting quarterback the past three seasons, was closing in on his career passing record that has stood since 1986.
“It’s fine with me, really,” he said. “I was the other guy at one point, breaking Terry Nugent’s record, so I knew it was coming. The thing I like is that Garrett not only is a good quarterback, he’s a really good guy – I like him a lot. I’ve really been impressed with him.”
Eye on the Rams
Stouffer will have to hide his love for CSU during the game, but there’s no doubt he’s hoping the Rams continue their successful run. If they keep winning and get a few breaks they could even play in a New Year’s Day bowl game – something no one envisioned when the season began.
“If you follow college football, you have every right to believe they can be that team that’s there at the end in position to play in a big bowl,” he said. “I would love for that to happen.”
Tickets are available online, in person at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket office or by calling (970) 491-7267. Students with ID can pick up their free tickets at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket office.