Nathan Stanley, the 6-5 freshman quarterback for Ole Miss, smiles broadly and calls himself "rook," short for rookie, and for good reason.
"I don't know if I would call what I am right now as overwhelemed or not, but a lot is being thrown at me," said Stanley, St. Louis Cards cap worn backwards and pulled down just above his eyes. "I did not anticipate this much volume in terms of the amount of plays, the length of plays, reading coverages I'd have to learn - it's a lot different from high school."
But after shaking his head while thinking about what he just said and the info he's being spoon fed, Stanley also said he couldn't ask for a better mentor than OC/QB COach Kent Austin.
"Coach Austin is a great coach. He knows everything and he's experienced. He can relate to what we are seeing on the field and can relate to us," Nathan noted. "I couldn't ask for a better coach. He's very clear and good at breaking things down so we can understand it."
Stanley also said the speed of the game on this level and all the terminology that goes with learning the system are major roadblocks to a newcomer.
"The defensive players are so fast and the wide receivers are so fast. You have to adjust to that and it takes time. Throws that worked in high school get picked off and are going the other way here," he smiled. "There is more of a difference than I realized, similar to all the information we have to learn. Again, this is not high school."
Nathan has pretty much accepted that this year will be a learning year.
"Learning behind Jevan Snead and Billy Tapp will be my number one goal this year," he said. "I'm just taking things one day at a time and doing the best I can.
"Jevan and Billy have been great to me. They are good guys and they are really smart. When I have a question, they are the guys I go to and they are always there to help me. I'm like the little brother right now - the new guy, the rook."
While the part of the transition from high school to college that is toughest for Nathan is mental, he is also going through some physical transformation.
"I think the coaches are prety happy with my mechanics. I am working on having a wider base when I throw, but my delivery and footwork are fairly solid, they have told me," he said. "For myself, I have goals to get bigger and stronger. I am now about 207 pounds. I would like to be up to about 230-235 before my career is over. I think I will still be able to move at that weight if I put it on correctly."
Stanley does not know where he stands right now in regard to playing this year or redshirting, but he's game for anything.
"The coaches will do what's best for me and the team. Coach Nutt told me I'm in a real good situation, but what that means I'm not exactly sure," he laughed. "I just know I trust him and whatever happens happens.
"A redshirt would not bother me. It would be just one more year to develop."
Nathan has turnd some heads with a quick release, strong arm and being able to stay cool under fire, but he knows that is just a starting point in his long career.
What's important to him is that he's able to live his dream in a place he has grown fond of already.
"Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to play Division I football and I am right where I need to be," he closed. "Ole Miss is a perfect match for me."
And, from the early looks and projections, Nathan Stanley is the perfect fit for the Ole Miss QB position.
Nathan Stanley update -
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