Ryan Stanley deserves a chance to play in the NFL

Contributing columnist James Williams

Ryan Stanley is the 2019 MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, and undoubtedly the best quarterback to ever put on a Florida A&M uniform. Stanley does, in fact, deserve the chance to play professional football.

Following an amazing year in which Stanley passed for 2,566 yards and 23 touchdownsleading the Rattlers to a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference-best 9-2 overall record, and an undefeated season at Bragg Memorial Stadium (6-0). Stanley proved doubters wrong who were concerned about his abilities to turn the Rattlers into a powerhouse in their conference.

Ari Payne, a staff writer with The Famuan, said in an opinion editorial earlier this week that Stanley should not get a chance to be drafted into the National Football League. It was a story that many FAMU students deemed distasteful, to say the least —myself included.

The column was published with many inaccurate facts backing up the headline on why he should not get drafted; I am here to challenge those “facts.”

The backlash on Twitter dug deep to the point where FAMU head football coach Willie Simmons had to chime in:
“Ryan Stanley is not only one of the most talented QBs I’ve ever been around, but also one of the most mentally tough! I know one thing for sure … he WILL have the last laugh!!! #ThatsMyQuarterback,” Simmons tweeted.

Alongside Simmons, teammates and other FAMU student-athletes came to Stanley’s defense.

The article stated, “In his career at FAMU, he’s only averaged 7.4 yards per completion. In this past season in the NFL, the lowest yards per attempt were 8.9 yards.”

Both of these claims are completely false. In actuality, Stanley averaged 12.1 yards per completion in his career (13.2 YPC this past season). To put that into perspective, the most likely unanimous MVP selection from this past season in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, averaged 11.8 YPC – a lower number than Ryan Stanley.

Also, last year’s NFL MVP — and currently AFC champion — Patrick Mahomes averaged 12.6 YPC this past season in the NFL, a lower number than Stanley.

Don’t get me wrong. The MEAC and the NFL are not nearly close to each other in terms of competition. However, Stanley deserves his recognition for dominating defensive opponents on a weekly basis.

The article also mentioned that the lowest yards per attempt (YPA) in the NFL was 8.9 yards. Once again – inaccurate. The lowest YPA in the NFL this past season was from Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky, who posted a 6.1 YPA on 516 pass attempts. Stanley posted an 8.0 YPA on 321 pass attempts this past season for the Rattlers; a number that would rank No. 8 in the NFL – tied with Pro Bowl QB Russell Wilson.

How could anyone think he deserves no shot at the next level? Stanley consistently improved throughout his four years at FAMU. He increased his touchdown totals since his first season playing in Orange and Green. Besides the stats, he was the ringleader in leading FAMU to its best season since 2010 – a true testament to his toughness and loyalty.

I am here to let the FAMU campus know that we support our athletes, and such articles pointing out athletes’ deficiencies shouldn’t be tolerated in a school publication — especially with multiple inaccurate facts.

Ryan Stanley has been great for FAMU football. He has broken multiple records throughout his four years. FAMU is not where his football career should end. Stanley deserves a shot at the next level of football.

James Williams is a public relations major at FAMU.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Sunday, Jan. 26, to add hyperlinks and to correct grammatical errors, as well as a statistical error.