Louisiana Tech wide receiver Malik Stanley speaks to Arrowhead Addict about his pro dreams, waiting in a pandemic and his favorite team growing up.
Malik Stanley is quick to admit this offseason is not going as planned.
“It’s honestly hard to stay mentally positive and excited right now,” says Stanley, a senior NFL prospect from Louisiana Tech. The wide receiver hopes his game film and personal pro day videos, which were recently distributed, serve as enough evidence to earn a selection in the 2020 NFL Draft‘s seven rounds.
Waiting is always the hardest part, but for prospects in a pandemic, there’s a lot to grieve about this offseason. While everyone has been affected, there’s a very real emotional hurdle for NFL prospects to overcome these days as they pursue the lifelong dream of hearing their names selected sometime over the draft’s three days. Stanley says the news hit hard initially but he’s learning to take it in stride.
“At first, when the news came that we wouldn’t have a pro day, that’s when I was a little broken up,” he says. “That’s when I knew I’d have a chance to show everybody what I’m all about. Seeing as I got the opportunity to do my performance drills and was able to send that out to teams, I feel like I should be good.
“Of course, I was upset because some people got the upper hand and already got that in before everything got cancelled, but besides that, I feel like mentally and physically, if I just stay ready, I should be good. If I can keep a positive outlook, I should be good.”
Stanley, a native of Topeka, transferred to Louisiana State for his final year of eligibility and had 40 catches for 649 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. As a big target at 6’2+ and 225 lbs., Stanley says teams see him as “a big receiver” and “someone who might be able to play the h position as well.”
“My eyes are open to all of that. I don’t mind. If there’s any way for me to get on the field and contribute to the team, I would love to do it,” he says.
Stanley came up biggest in a mid-October win over Southern Miss. La. Tech walked away with a 45-30 victory, largely due to Stanley’s heroics en route to an eight-catch, 212 receiving yard performance.
“For sure, that was the most memorable game of my college career, just with the stats and the environment and the stakes of that game,” he says. “That’s something I will forever remember. I really wasn’t aware until the end of the third quarter, when someone came up to me and said, ‘You’re about to break 200.’ I was like, ‘Man, we gotta do that. We gotta make sure that happens.'”
So far, five teams have expressed serious interest in Stanley, and he says he’ll be thrilled to hear his name called by any team. However, as a native Kansan, he’d love for that team to be his childhood favorite.
“I did grow up a Chiefs fan,” he says. “That would be amazing. I would be blessed to get a call from any of them, if anyone said, ‘Come join my team,’ but Kansas City, of course. That’s been the one for forever. To play for the home team would be great.”
No matter who selects him, Stanley believes he’ll be a quick study, given his own playing history and hopes to contribute early in any way his team wants.
“I transferred in to Louisiana Tech, so when I got there, I had to learn things fast. I wasn’t just learning one position fast. I was learning the whole offense that fast,” says Stanley. “Practically, what the quarterback knew, I had to know so I would be that much more ready to contribute to the team—not just as one position but multiple positions. I think that was challenging at first, for the first couple days, and then after I wrapped my head around it and sat down and after those hours I put in in the study room, I figured it out.”
In just a week’s time, he’ll have to do it all over again. We’re pretty sure Stanley wouldn’t have it any other way.