Lions acquire new talent at quarterback

Last season was a struggle at the quarterback position for the Lions. Coach Mike Lucas and his staff have taken the necessary steps to avoid that this season as they announced on Wednesday, June 29, that former Ole Miss quarterback Nathan Stanley has transferred and will be a part of the Lions 2011 campaign. Stanley’s departure from Ole Miss was confirmed on April 13 as Head Coach Houston Nutt released a statement from the university.

“After meeting tonight, Nathan has decided to leave the program. I wish him the best, and I am going to help him find a new school. I appreciate all that he has done for Ole Miss and the type of student athlete he has been.”

Two months later the 6-foot-5, 215 pound quarterback has found a home in Hammond.

“We felt like we could use another quarterback with game experience and were excited about having the opportunity of adding Nathan to our program,” said Lucas.

Junior quarterback Brian Young was the projected starter coming into the summer as he showcased a great spring and developed game experience last season, playing in six games and starting two due to injuries to former quarterback Tyler Beatty. However, Lucas expressed that he is keeping all options open behind center.

“We feel with Brian Young returning at quarterback, he was the only one returning with game experience. By adding Nathan into that group, we’re going to allow him to compete for the starting job,” said Lucas.

Stanley’s eligibility will be effective immediately for the Lions and he will have two years of eligibility remaining. Coach Lucas stressed how it is great to have him here already, in order to get familiar with the players and the program before fall camp begins in August.

The Tahlequah, Oklahoma native saw significant action in his time with the Rebels. In two seasons, Stanley threw 55 passes and completed 28 of them for 454 yards and four touchdowns. Stanley started the 2010 season opener versus Jacksonville State where he threw for three touchdowns in the first half before being replaced by Oregon transfer Jeremiah Masoli. The Rebels would go on to lose that game 48-49, being one of the biggest upsets of the 2010 season. Meanwhile, Stanley wouldn’t start another game for the Rebels, but saw action as a back up behind Masoli.

As a redshirt freshman, Stanley played in five games during the 2009 season and his first pass completion came,  ironically, against the Lions. Later that season, Stanley also saw action in games against UAB and versus Texas Tech in a Cotton Bowl victory.

Coming out of high school, Stanley was rated the No. 89 player overall by Sports Illustrated, while rated him as the No. 11 overall player in the state of Oklahoma and the No. 23 quarterback in the nation. In his senior season at Sequoyah High School, Stanley passed for over 2,000 yards and 32 touchdowns on his way to being named to the All-State team.

Competition for the starting job will begin on August 2 when the Lions report to fall camp in preparation for the 2011 season and their opener, set for September 3, in the Louisiana Superdome versus Tulane.