Stanley seeks an opportunity well awaited

For Lions senior quarterback Nathan Stanley, the football journey has been a long one with many bumps along the way. With the 2012 season on the horizon, Stanley will be granted an opportunity that he has long awaited in what he hopes will be a magical senior campaign.
“I just want to make my last year as successful as possible and continue to get better and better each day,” said Stanley.   
A native of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Stanley was a standout player at Sequoyah High School. As a senior, Stanley threw for more than 2,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. He was ranked by Sports Illustrated as the No. 89 player in the country and ranked by as the No. 23 quarterback in a class that included former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor and 2012 No. 1 NFL Draft pick Andrew Luck. With attention on the national scale, Stanley committed to play in the Southeastern Conference at Ole Miss for then head coach Houston Nutt, where he was redshirted in his freshman season. After sitting behind fellow quarterback Jevan Snead for two seasons, Stanley opened his third year at Ole Miss as the starter versus Jacksonville State, but with trouble landing the former Oregon Duck quarterback Jeremiah Masoli in Oxford, Stanley found himself taking the back seat to Masoli, who had led the Ducks to the Rose Bowl the previous year.
After seeing limited action throughout the 2010 season, Stanley transferred to Southeastern to play for then head coach Mike Lucas. Stanley was a late addition to the roster, missing all of spring ball prior to the season. When the 2011 season started, Stanley was not the starter and saw limited action throughout the season behind then junior quarterback Brian Young.
“I’ve bounced around,” said Stanley. “I spent three years at Ole Miss, came here and I wasn’t the starter last year, so it’s kind of motivation. I haven’t really had the chance to showcase what I can do.”
In what will be his last season as a Lion, Stanley has been named the starter ahead of Young by new head coach Ron Roberts after his improved play throughout spring ball and fall camp.
“I don’t believe in this game of football that there is any inherited position or somebody gets a job because of what you did last year or last week,” said Roberts. “I have a tremendous amount of faith in both of them and going through this fall camp, Stanley has probably been the guy to have a little more spark and take care of the ball a little better.”
Knowing the road he has traveled throughout his football career, Stanley seeks redemption in 2012 and is looking to make the most of an opportunity that seemed like it should have come long ago.
“I don’t want to say I’ve been overlooked, but like I said, it’s motivation,” said Stanley. “I want to redeem myself. I have one year left, and I just want to go out with a bang in my last year.”