ORANGE PARK - A stellar four year college football career followed by a fifth year with a Division II powerhouse has put Ridgeview High graduate Stanley Dye on the fence for his National Football League aspirations.
“I didn’t get an invite to the Pro Combine in Indianapolis so I’m just trying to stay in football shape and hoping I can connect with a scout or coach,” said Dye, who has 4.39 second 40 yard speed on top of defensive back cover skills and long arms. “Physically, I’m a strong 5’-9”, 5”-10” inch frame, about 190-200 pounds with my speed and cover skills the best part of my package. Everything is kind of hold because of the Coronavirus.”
One guy who did attend the Indianapolis Pro Combine was former Oakleaf High middle linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, who finished a sterling career at the University of Miami and is slated to be a round seven draft pick by most draft predictions. Quarterman set an NCAA record of 52 straight starts and earned a first team All-ACC selection.
Quarterman recorded Pro Combine stats of 4.74 seconds in the 40, 23 reps on the 225 pound bench press, a 31 inch vertical leap and a 120 inch broad jump. Quarterman graded 5.90 on a scale of 1-8 for prospects with Clemson linebacker Isiaih Simmons grading out with a 7.08, tops for linebackers.
For Dye though, his final year at Valdosta State University, a nationally-ranked NCAA Division II program, was a good experience, but may have not been enough football at that level to gain attention.
“If I was at Valdosta for two or three years, I may have been able to get better stats and got more games with big plays,” said Dye. “I hope the scouts can see I contributed quickly with a new team.”
Dye, a standout safety for Ridgeview High under then-coach Tom Macpherson (2014, region playoffs 2011, 2012), was known as a vicious hitter from the depths of the secondary and one of the fastest guys to get to the point of attack.
“I’m thinking of having a virtual pro day and find an agent or scout that can move my stats around,” said Dye, currently living in Jacksonville and working for Enterprise Rental Cars. “It’s tough to work your whole life, sacrificing and training and then it gets taken away from you. I know it’s not going to last forever and I’m staying focused.”
Dye left Ridgeview for University of Texas-San Antonio and played in most of five seasons; with one a redshirt freshman season (2015) for a pectoral muscle injury as a 2014 freshman.
“I was doing some early morning bench presses when I tore the chest muscle,” said Dye. “After that year was over, I came back and we had a pretty good defense.”
With a breakout season in 2017. Dye played in 11 games in that junior season with saw the UTSA defense lead the Conference USA stats in seven categories; five areas nationally ranked.
Statistics-wise, Dye’s 2015 season, his sophomore year, finished with 20 tackles in 12 games with 11 solo stops.
“I got hurt doing an early morning weight workout and that ended a pretty good freshman season,” said Dye. “We had a big coaching change and that knocked down some playing time.
In high school, Dye was a dual threat on defense as a safety and also as a wide receiver with 25 passes for eight scores and three interceptions in his final season; 19 touchdowns in his final two seasons.
Dye also had school record track speed in the sprints. Dye, with a district title winning 10.79 in the 100 meters, ran a 10.93 100 in 2012 at the region 1-3A championships for sixth place. In the 200, Dye, who was district champion at 22.13, ran a 22.13 split to qualify for the region final, but was injured for the final.
After graduating from UTSA, Dye joined the NCAA Division II national champion Valdosta State University football team for his final year of eligibility and finished as a starter for the 10-1 Blazers who lost in the Division II playoffs on the final play of the game to eventual champion University of West Florida. Dye had 18 tackles and six pass breakups in eight games played with one interception. Dye had a season high six tackles and two key pass breakups in the Blazers’ playoff game loss to West Florida.
Dye noted his 4.39, comparable to a 4.27 best in the country (Alabama WR Henry Ruggs) with 4.39 13th best, is comparable to national times posted at the Pro Day in Indianapolis. Of the top 13, five were secondary players including Utah’s Javelin Guidry who had the second fastest split at 4.29. “That guy from Utah (Guidry) is about my size at 5’-9” and 190 pounds so I think teams want a guy who can cover and can tackle in open space,” said Dye. “My speed is right there and I have always been a solid open field tackler.”
Among safeties, LSU’s L’Jarius Sneed was top 40 at 4.37 seconds.
Dye noted a 40 inch vertical leap (6th best was 40.5”) and a 10’-5” foot broad jump (8th best 10’-7”). Dye also bench pressed 225 pounds 13 times (22 times best among cornerbacks; 24 times best among safeties). “My bench press number was after a workout and I think I can do more,” said Dye. “My speed is right up there with the fastest guys in the Pro Combine.” The all-important “window of opportunity” for Dye is the next three or four years where he expects that staying healthy and staying fast are his best assets. “It’s a tough grind to keep pushing in training and being away from actual football playing,” said Dye. “I keep myself sharp with each workout hoping someone gives me the shot. I’ll be ready if it happens.”