Sports are second nature for Ryan Stanley. The adrenaline. The challenges. The success.
Stanley was the star quarterback at Charles W. Flanagan High School in Broward County. After graduating Stanley decided to bring his talents to FAMU.
Unlike high school, Stanley wasn’t the immediate star on the field. The coaching staff decided it would be best to redshirt the eager freshman, meaning he wouldn’t be eligible to play in games until his sophomore year.
“They felt it was best for me in the long term to get bigger, faster, stronger, and master the playbook. I think it was a great decision,” Stanley said.
Because of this decision, the young quarterback was able to improve his skills and knowledge of the game.
The 6-foot-3, 214 pound Stanley is now a force to be reckoned with. He is going into his junior season of football and has only gotten better with his beast of a right arm.
But it isn’t all peaches and cream. Stanley is consistently surrounded by misconceptions of who he is as a person.
A common misconception is that he’s cocky, when it’s just confidence in his abilities. When a person works constantly to improve at something they love, they deserve the right to be proud of their talents.
As with any leader, his peers hold him up to a certain standard which in turn forces Stanley to move differently. Stanley says race is not an issue, as he assumes a leadership role on the football team. Stanley is one of eight whites on the historically black university’s football team.
“As a friend, Ryan is a funny guy to be around. The ultimate jokester. As a teammate he’s very reliable and accountable. I know everything he does revolves around bettering himself as a player. If I need anything or if I’m looking for advice, he’s one of the first people if not the first person I would call,” said Terry Jefferson.
Race and being a minority have never been an issue for Stanley. He made it very clear that the team operates as a brotherhood. They are not just brothers due to the orange and green uniforms, but to the respect and loyalty they have toward each other.
“Ryan was my roommate, so I got to know him on a more personal level. As a person, he’s the type of guy that you want around no matter what. He’s always positive no matter what the situation is and as a teammate and friend I admire his tenacity and how he handles himself,” said Orlando McKinley, a veteran defensive back on the team.
While participating in a youth football game, Stanley was improperly tackled, that resulted in him shattering and dislocating his left elbow. Several doctors told him they did not know if he would be able to ever play again.
Instead of allowing the news to discourage him, Stanley visited the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to see a doctor who specifically focused on elbow reconstruction. With a very rigorous rehabilitation schedule, Stanley was back and better for the upcoming season.
For the 2018 football season, Stanley must again prove to the new coaching staff that he is worthy to still start as quarterback. He is one of four competing for the position.
Although Stanley believes that the other three contenders are worthy competitors, he’s confident in his skill set.