An honest look at the legacy of Drew Stanton

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An honest look at the career of Drew Stanton

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As a new crop of MSU recruits prepares to come in at MSU we are poised and ready for a new start. A new coach, new schemes and new ideas are plentiful on the Spartan Nation’s football landscape. Before we can do that however we have one last item of business to take care of. It is time for an honest reflection on the legacy of Drew Stanton.

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I remember the day that we got him and how excited I was. I had seen him play in high school, I had a grasp of his love for MSU and I thought for sure he would leave the best QB in MSU history. He sadly is not.

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When Drew arrived it was with emotions at an all time high. MSU was riding high from a Citrus Bowl win and even with a win in the Silicone Valley Bowl they looked ahead with promise. He would sit supposedly under the teaching of Jeff Smoker, only to take the reigns and lead his beloved Spartans for four wonderful years.Â

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Well Jeff had his issues and Bobby was fired. So in came John L. Smith and a new regime.  Drew was not “their” guy and as was the situation at MSU, if you weren’t JLS’s guy (ask any assistant that did not come in from day one what that was like) you were of course no good. The staff that JLS brought with him, which was abysmal at best when it came to evaluating talent, instantly assumed he was terrible and they wanted someone else.

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Well Drew kept his mouth shut and he worked all off-season preparing for the starting job that he was told was his. Then one day as fall camp approached he heard on ESPN that Jeff had taken his spot (great job with the whole team approach JLS) but he never complained. He thought about transferring but in the end his love of MSU kept him here.

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He volunteered realizing that he was not what this staff wanted (I guess being a much sought after recruit that other prominent schools wanted made him terrible) to be a special teams player. He did what Drew always did on the football field he starred.

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I asked JLS once how he could have even considered playing Drew on special teams and as always he had excuses. His answer to me was simple “…well Drew wanted to.” O.K. so you were paid over ½ a million more dollars per year then Dantonio to let the inmates run the asylum? Isn’t that why Bobby got fired?

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Well in the Alamo Bowl Stanton suffered a potentially career ending knee injury and his fate looked sealed. Once again people who discounted Stanton looked dumb. Fighting like the true warrior Spartans of old he recovered but the staff felt like “Damon Dowdell gave them the best chance to win.” He didn’t. Now remember that if Stanton had been the man (JLS’s guy) he could have started the season, but when Dowdell failed, it was then Stephen Reaves’s chance to shine. He didn’t. All through that fiasco he was quiet. He never leaked frustration he just acted with class.

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After a 2005 season in which is biggest negatives were caused by a play calling scheme that failed to put players in a good position to succeed, he was set to be a mid first round draft pick and he had millions in his sights.Â

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Even though JLS and the staff did nothing to help him, he made the choice to stay at MSU. To defy the millions he risked it all. As the 2006 season progressed and it was evident that this team was floundering he kept fighting valiantly. He made questionable plays not worrying about his stats just trying to make a play to help his team. It was so bad, that scouts at the Senior Bowl were amazed that he was “so much better then his stats.” He had a heart of a warrior and was the epitome of what it means to be a Spartan.

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Drew’s career is done now. He will be a first round pick and thank God he will get his millions. At the end of the day the scathing editorial on JLS is that he had such a great talent and didn’t know how to use it. Not once did Drew QB this team in a bowl or a meaningful late season game. Not once did he lead a last second drive for a BCS win. Those aren’t Drew’s fault; hopefully the Spartan Nation will remember that.

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I had the distinct privilege of covering this fine young man. Forget his football talent, he is the exact type of young man you want your daughter to marry and your football players to be like.

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Drew does not leave with a national championship or a Big Ten crown. Not even with the Heisman so many touted for him. He does leave with the title of Mr. Spartan. Drew did it one-way, the right way. On and off the field he made the Spartan Nation and his family proud.

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Hey Drew, when that NFL career is over, how about one day coming back and leading your Spartans. One day I would love to see him give you the reigns to your program. You are a great Spartan.