If the Longhorns played Houston Baptist, Josh Sterns said he’d get open on his big brother Caden, Texas’ All-American safety. The freshman wide receiver’s confidence might come from playing backyard football with five older brothers who were all three times his size. Josh said they made him better.
These days, he just listens to their advice. Ahead of Houston Baptists’ game against Texas Tech on Sept. 12, junior Caden’s message to Josh and Jerreth, his other brother who also plays for the Huskies, was simple.
“He just told us to go out there and do what we do normally,” Josh said. “He said, ‘We’re Sterns, and you know how we get down.’”
The Sterns brothers answered the call. Josh and Jerreth combined for 339 receiving yards. Jerreth, a junior wide receiver, scored one touchdown. Josh scored two.
Texas Tech was a 42-point favorite heading into the game, but the Red Raiders won by just two — in their home stadium. Houston Baptist put up 33 points.
“(Caden) always tells me and Jerreth, ‘Even if they’re sleeping on you, don’t worry about it. Because you know what you’re capable of. You know your ability, so don’t let the haters or the people sleeping on you bring you down and stop you from being who you are and being the best you can be,’” Josh said.
Josh caught his second touchdown pass before Jerreth did that night. The elder Stern said seeing his little brother thrive at the Division I level so early and being able to call him a teammate “is such a blessing.”
Jordan, the oldest Stern brother between Caden, Josh and Jerreth, played at Oklahoma State and is a former Kansas City Chief. Jerreth said Jordan helped pave the way for all the siblings on the football field. He said Caden is making just as large of an impact at Texas.
What makes Caden so great, Jerreth said, is his ability to always be around the football and find ways to make plays. Then, there’s his leadership.
“It’s honestly amazing, but he’s just showing the world what we already knew: that he’s the best safety in college football,” Jerreth said.
The two are the same age, but Jerreth still welcomes advice from his Longhorn brother.
He said Caden gave him the lowdown on Texas Tech’s defensive backs ahead of the game.
“He is really like a wise dude for our age, and he does drop knowledge to me just giving me little tips, like how to run my routes and how to get open because in the game he would have to guard me,” Jerreth said.
Caden said he wishes his brothers could have left Lubbock with a win, but he’s proud of them nevertheless. He said he learned from Josh and Jerreth that Texas Tech’s defense isn’t very good, though it won’t affect him much as a safety.
“(It's) cool seeing my brothers reach their dream of playing DI football and then doing what they did,” Caden said in a Tuesday teleconference. “We just get to trade knowledge that we have with one another too, so it’s pretty cool.”
If Caden’s brothers played with him at Texas like he wishes, they’d get another shot at Texas Tech with the Longhorns, who Josh said will definitely win the game on Saturday.
The brothers support each other, but competition between them has always been a battle over who truly won, Jerreth said.
The debate may never be settled. Would Jerreth beat Caden on a play? He’d rather keep his thoughts to himself.
“I’m not going to say,” Jerreth said. “We won’t speak on that. It would be a good matchup though.”