ROCKINGHAM — What was shaping up to be a promising season for rising senior Malik Stanback, wide receiver for the Richmond football team, has come to an end before it could even start.
Early last week, Stanback learned that he’s going to be sidelined during the 2018 campaign due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee. He suffered the injury when he planted his foot — after bringing in a catch near the sideline — during a 7-on-7 competition with Marlboro County (S.C.) on Thursday, June 28.
Stanback, who also plays basketball and runs track, confirmed the injury from his Twitter account late Saturday night.
“My ACL is torn but this isn’t bringing me down this is something that is going to make me a better football player and a better leader….this isn’t the last you will be hearing from malik Stanback coming back stronger than ever I promise that #weworkforit,” he tweeted.
The rising senior received an outpouring of support from coaches, teammates, and others in response to his tweet.
Richmond head football coach Bryan Till wrote, “I cant tell you how strong this young man is, inside and out. True Raider!”; associate head coach and wide receivers coach Greg Williams tweeted, “Way to stay positive. Speak it, Believe it, Achieve it!”; and rising junior wide receiver Justin Morman added, “When i tell you my boy is a Warrior he’s a Warrior.”
“I want these guys to know the truths about hard work and life, and how things can work out. Situations like this injury challenge that,” Till said. “I see how this challenge can make (Stanback) a better man, but I want him to see it … I love these boys and I only want to see them succeed.”
An all-conference selection from a year ago, Stanback has been generating a lot of interest from Division I schools over the past few months. He picked up scholarship offers from The Citadel (S.C.), Old Dominion University (Va.) and Wofford College (S.C.), and has been in contact with East Carolina University, the University of Michigan, and others.
Stanback finished his junior season with a team high in receptions (34), receiving yards (751), receiving yards per game (75.1) and longest reception (86 yards), and was second on the team in yards per catch (22.1) and receiving touchdowns (5).
His 86-yarder, in the final moments of the game, helped the Raiders take down conference foe Seventy-First back on Oct. 27, 2017 and put them in a position to compete for the Sandhills Athletic Conference championship the following week.
“They will be getting a kid who understands the privilege of playing football, the hard work it takes to be really good, and a young man who is a great teammate in spite of tough circumstances,” Till said when asked what Stanback will bring to the school that decides to stick by him through the ACL injury.
Though Stanback will be on the sideline all season, Till and Williams believe in the talent and the depth of the team’s receiving core, which was on display during the 7-on-7 with Cheraw and Marlboro County.
Rising senior Bobby Terry — a 2016 all-conference selection — has proven his abilities on the varsity level, and fellow rising seniors Preston Coker, Jahan Jones and Jordyn Wall have been more than productive throughout the summer.
Morman, a rising junior, and Jakolbe Baldwin, Tremel Jones and Dalton Storman — all rising sophomores — have also shown that they can be reliable threats in the passing game.
”You don’t realize how many guys are catching touchdown passes or getting in the action until you go back, look at the film and really start breaking things down,” Williams said two weeks ago. “We’ve had seven or eight guys who have been tremendous assets to the team during the 7-on-7s this summer.”
Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. by phone at 910-817-2673 or by email at [email protected] For stories, scores and updates, follow the Daily Journal’s sports section on Twitter @RCDailySports.