Imagine being a young college quarterback and winning number one status in spring training.
Imagine then going to a famous passing camp and being tutored by two Super Bowl MVPs and comparing your wares with other college QBs.
Imagine being in your practice facility and in walks Eli Manning, who wants to throw a little with you and your receivers and is gracious enough to give you pointers.
All those things, and more, have made this a whirlwind summer for Ole Miss sophomore Nathan Stanley as he diligently prepares and anxiously awaits the coming 2010 season.
"The summer has gone real good. Lots of workouts, lots of classes, lots of everything, but all good," said Stanley. "I've been here all summer, but I've gotten a lot done.
"Coming out of spring training, I set a goal to get better in every area - mentally, physically, footwork, throwing the ball, breaking down film, evaluating the teams we will face this fall. I've been working on all of that this summer."
Nathan got one "break," so to speak, last week when he went to the Manning Passing Academy, a yearly camp for high school quarterbacks with two or three dozen college QBs acting as their instructors.
"It was a lot of fun. I had a blast. I got to see other quarterbacks from around the country and kind of compare myself to some of them and I got in a lot of work myself," he said. "They were all real cool guys."
At the Manning Passing Academy, one particular time sticks out in his mind, when Peyton and Eli Manning sat down with the college quarterbacks in attendance and went through a film study session.
"I learned a lot. It was awesome seeing how two Super Bowl MVPs break down film. Not a lot of guys get that opportunity, so I tried to learn all I could," Stanley continued. "Peyton is all business. He stresses not just watching film to watch film, but going in with the attitude of getting something from it, having a purpose.
"He encouraged us to take notes and always make sure we gleaned something from our efforts, no matter how big or little."
And what did he get from Eli?
"He's helped me with my footwork and where to put my eyes and where to put the ball. Eli has thrown with us some this summer and that's really helped me," Nathan noted. "I take as much as I can from those guys."
Stanley is excited about the season being just around the corner.
"I'm excited and I'm starting to get some nerves about it, but I can't wait for two-a-days to start to get out there and compete," Nathan added. "Our 7-on-7s have gone good this summer. We are getting more and more comfortable with each other in terms of body language. I'm learning more about how everyone runs their routes and the timing is getting there.
"The defense is also doing real good. It's a real battle and we are having a lot of fun doing it."
Nate has been minus one receiver - Pat Patterson, who was dismissed from the team - but he thinks the Rebs will be fine in that area.
"In ways it seems like we are short one, but I think we have guys with talent - Jesse Grandy, Markeith Summers, Lionel Breaux, Ja-Mes Logan, Melvin Harris - who I think bring a lot to the table.
"I'm anxious to see them in two-a-days and see how far we have all progressed."
Nathan is not alone at the quarterback position. He will get stiff competition from RS freshman Raymond Cotton and JUCO transfer Randall Mackey.
"Raymond's arm is feeling real good - better than it was when he first got to Ole Miss. The training staff has done a great job rehabbing the injury," Stanley said. "He's gotten his strength back and has looked really good throwing the ball. He's got an awfully strong arm and he's turning it loose now. He's back.
"Randall is going to be fun to watch. You can tell he's adjusting to the playbook, but you can also tell he's got a lot of talent. He can run the ball, he can throw the ball, he can throw on the run and he's got a strong, accurate arm. That's a talented football player."
The countdown has already begun. A couple of weeks and change from fall camp.
Imagine. . .
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