Casino del Sol All-Star Game: Ex-RichRod player seeking 2nd chance

2013-01-11T00:00:00Z Casino del Sol All-Star Game: Ex-RichRod player seeking 2nd chanceDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
January 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Darryl Stonum wears a yellow band on his right wrist.

On it, in blue writing, reads the words "Commitment to Excellence - University of Michigan."

It's his permanent link to Rich Rodriguez, Stonum's coach for three seasons in Ann Arbor and now the Arizona Wildcats' boss.

"He demanded the very best from me, and he got that from me on the field," said Stonum, in Tucson for tonight's Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game at Kino Stadium. "I just wish I could have given it to him off the field."

Stonum has spent the last week trying to prove to NFL scouts that he has matured following a series of off-the-field incidents at Michigan. Stonum spent last fall at Baylor but caught just three passes for 51 yards.

It was a far cry from the way the 6-foot-2-inch, 195-pound receiver began his college career.

Stonum started 10 games as a Michigan freshman, had a highlight reel touchdown against Purdue and was digging the attention from the passionate Michigan fans.

"I used to go out and it was, 'Hey, it's Darryl Stonum,' and that was a big deal to me," Stonum said.

That led to bad decisions.

He was cited for operating a vehicle while visibly impaired as a freshman. He violated his probation two years later and had to serve three days in jail.

The issues didn't seem to affect his play.

As a sophomore, he became the first Michigan player ever to have more than 1,000 return yards in a season. He was the team's second-leading receiver as a junior, Rodriguez's final season, with more than 600 yards.

But his trouble was just beginning.

Stonum was arrested on drunken driving charges after his junior season and was suspended for his senior year by Rodriguez's replacement at Michigan, Brady Hoke.

The expectation was that Stonum would redshirt his senior year in 2011 and return in 2012 for his final season.

Instead, Stonum violated his probation again. After spending 10 days in jail, Hoke dismissed him from the team.

"I hit what I consider rock bottom," Stonum said. "I used to play for one of the greatest teams in the world, and now I'm home."

Stonum stayed in Ann Arbor, but could not participate in team activities.

"I was around the guys, and I couldn't battle with them on the field. I'd see them doing the work and couldn't do it with them," he said. "I (saw) plays being left on the field, and I couldn't make them.

"I never want to feel like that again."

Stonum earned his Michigan degree and, with a year of eligibility remaining, searched for a new program.

Arizona was on his list.

The receiver said Rodriguez called him in January 2012 and asked if he wanted to play his final year at Arizona. Stonum considered it, but the Sugar Land, Texas, native wanted to play closer to home; he chose Baylor, which was 90 minutes away.

Stonum is an intriguing pro prospect because of his size and speed combination. He runs a 4.40 40-yard dash.

His biggest challenge will be to convince pro scouts that he has matured off the field.

"I believe his best football is still ahead of him," said UA assistant Tony Dews, who was Stonum's position coach at Michigan. "There is some rust, but the ability is still there.

"Darryl was a good kid who always worked hard and had a big smile on his face. He just happened to make some big mistakes."

Stonum considers himself a Michigan Wolverine. He exchanged text messages with Hoke on Christmas and chatted with Dews earlier this week at one of the all-star game practices.

Stonum said he's tired of people telling him he has potential. He's ready to live up to it.

"I believe in giving people second chances, and he deserves one," Dews said. "We all go through things that make us better as a person.

"I believe Darryl will be a better man down the road because of the some of the stuff he's had to deal with."

Today

• What: Casino del Sol All-Star Game

• Where: Kino Stadium

• When: 7 p.m.

• Webcast: ESPN3 • Radio: 1490-AM

Who gets ESPN3?

Tonight's Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game will be streamed live on ESPN3, the cable network's online platform. ESPN3, a high-speed Internet streaming site, is available to Comcast and Cox subscribers at www.espn3.com. DirecTV and Dish Network subscribers do not have access to ESPN3.

Tucsonans Dave Sitton and John Fina will call the game.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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