Being redshirted turned out not to be so bad after all for Donell Stanley.
The former Latta standout spent his first year at South Carolina watching from the sidelines after breaking his left wrist back in July.
“Not being able to play football for a whole year. It is crazy. I’m not used to nothing like that,” Stanley said Tuesday while attending the Pepsi Carolina Classic. “I thought it was going to be a bad thing but it turned out to be a good thing. I learned a lot. I was able to take advantage of watching the older players.
“The whole college experience could be overwhelming sometimes. But looking guys like AJ (Cann) and Dylan (Thompson), they take it so good both on and off the field. That’s what makes them so great.”
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Stanley, a Shrine Bowl and US Army All-American selection at Latta, reinjured his left wrist early in fall practice. It was the same injury he suffered during his senior season with the Vikings and he thinks it never healed properly.
Stanley had surgery Aug. 2 and returned to football activities about two months later but was limited in his involvement. He said he should be 100 percent by spring practice in April and should compete for playing time and possibly start next season at guard.
“We think he has the talent to compete for playing time, possibly a starting position next year,” USC coach Steve Spurrier told Spurs and Feathers in October.
Stanley hopes to do just that and is looking forward to the opportunity. He has dropped about 25 pounds and is around 325, he hopes to make him quicker.
Stanley traveled with the team to the Duck Commander Independence Bowl where the Gamecocks defeated Miami 24-21 He also got to meet “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson following the game when he presented the trophy to the team after the victory.
“Winning that bowl game brings some momentum to the upcoming year. It helped our program out,” Stanley said. Hopefully we can get it back on track like coach (Spurrier) wanted to. The bowl game was a good experience for a first-year guy. Hopefully we can get into a bigger one as I go through school.”