Still think DODDS Pacific student-athletes can’t make the grade in college? Got another example that they can: Stanley Speed of Yokota High School.
The senior who quarterbacked the Panthers to their second successive Far East Division I football title has signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Briar Cliff University, an NAIA school in Iowa, and received a $24,000 annual academic grant-in-aid as well.
“I knew I wanted to do [play college football] my whole life,” said Speed, who will trade in Panthers blue and gold for Chargers royal blue and gold and will play for the private Franciscan Roman Catholic university in Sioux City, which plays in the Great Plains Athletic Conference.
He had wanted to play NCAA Division I ball – who wouldn’t? – and chatted it up at various football camps last summer in Virginia and North Carolina, but most of the D-I programs had shelled out their scholarship money, said his father, Stanley Sr., a Navy senior chief petty officer.
“It was a grueling process,” the elder Speed said. Besides going to summer camps, the two built a “Be Recruited” website at the end of his junior year. He had looks from D-I to D-III schools, but Briar Cliff was the one that remained in close contact with the Speeds and in the end proved to be the “best fit,” Stanley Sr. said.
“It’s the best offer,” he said. “Their (NAIA and other small schools) scholarship packages are just as good if not more than D-I schools.”
What message does this send to other DODDS Pacific students who might be thinking of doing the same thing, but think it’s not possible?
“Anybody can do it,” the younger Speed said. “If you have a love and passion for the game, you have to put extra work into it, but it can be done.”
Speed ran 57 times for 614 yards and 13 touchdowns and went 10-for-15 for 346 yards and four touchdowns passing for a Yokota team that went 11-0 and ended the season with a Pacific-best 15-game winning streak. In the last three seasons with Speed at the helm, Yokota has gone 27-2 and outscored opponents 1,122-240.