STANTON TRUITT, LEADER by Sonny Kennedy It was in the GHSA football playoffs last season that I first learned who Stanton Truitt is and what he is about. His team, the Monroe Area Purple Hurricanes were losing to Columbus Shaw 14 -13 (as a result of a blocked PAT) very late in the 4th quarter. Shaw was simply grinding out the clock, but there was absolutely no panic or anxiety on the Monroe sideline. This was because Monroe's quarterback and leader was calmly walking down the sidelines and looking into each and every one of the offensive player's eyes. His words were simple, but very powerful; he thanked each player individuallyâ€Śfor what they were ABOUT TO DO, even though Shaw had the ball with less than a couple of minutes left in the game and they were winning. One first down, and the game was over.
Truitt thanked his teammates for what they were about to do, and told each one of them that they were going to win this game BECAUSE of what each one of them, individually, were about to do. He then led a couple of the players in prayer. It was during this prayer that Monroe's defense stopped Shaw on 4th and inches at the 41 yard line. Truitt then took over with a seven-play drive, capped with His 33yard touchdown run. The ensuing successful 2-point attempt and a last play interception sends Monroe to the next round of the playoffs. It was this type of effort, determination, leadership, and faith that led Monroe to its first region championship since 1969.
At the start of last season, Stanton had no college scholarship offers. He now has 45. Arizona State was the first to offer, without ever having met him or having seen him play in person. Truitt felt somewhat anxious and frustrated that he was not being recruited, and that anxiety was affecting his personal life; until the night he and his father prayed about it. The anxiety immediately lifted, knowing that God had a plan for him, and that plan would be unveiled in due time. When asked to rank the important things in life, he responds with: 1) God, 2) Family, 3) Football. His single biggest supporter is his father, Stanley Truitt, who played college football and ran track at the University of Arkansas. Truitt and his father began watching game film and critiquing plays at the age of 5. Stanton trains alongside his father in both conditioning and weightlifting. From a very young age, and until today, Stanley pushes his son to strive farther than he can reach. It reminds me of saying: “never strive to be your best, that’s never good enough. Always aim higher and strive for something better than your best.” I could tell by simply watching Stanton’s body language how he respects his dad. Almost to myself, I said, "So…no Stanley, no scholarship?" He smiled at that and said, "Yes, I never
thought about it that way, but there is no other way to state it".
Stanton is universally respected at Monroe for both his athletic abilities and character. The coaches have complete faith in his abilities and leadership. And it's that leadership that sets him apart from almost everyone else. Truitt knows the importance of bonding among teammates, and they build strong bonds by doing simple things like going to a restaurant together, or just hanging out as friends. As a group, they regularly go the weight room for unscheduled conditioning and weightlifting sessions, without coach involvement, and they workout as a team. Truitt and his teammates also have "private" times when they get together, just as friends, and talk. If you play football for the Monroe Hurricanes, and you violate team rulesâ€Śit's not just the coaches you have to worry aboutâ€Śit's
your teammates. They are responsible to one another. Having seen it personally, there is a very impressive and palpable bond between those players, due, in no small part, to their leader.
Truitt played only quarterback last year, but with the depleted defense, he plans to play both quarterback and defensive back this season. He does not think he'll play quarterback in college, so he's looking forward to improving his defensive skills, and preparing for wherever he ends up playing college football. He told me that he plans to announce his choice prior to the start of the season. I never even asked who he's considering, but whoever it is, they will be getting a terrific player and person.
All images © copyright protected by Sonny Kennedy and Sonny Kennedy Photography