“He went to a couple combines after that and the offers started rolling in,” Herron said.
At first, Stinson committed to Florida State. But Herron said Stinson ultimately would choose between LSU and Alabama because they had “better support systems” for his learning disability. Stinson, Herron said, scored low on his reading level exams.
“You always hear how a lot of guys go to college, but don’t make it because they don’t do what they need to do,” Herron said. “Not Ed. He’s never missed a tutoring session. He takes his academics seriously.
“I’m proud to see how he and three of his basketball teammates at South Dade have all made something of themselves four years later. Dontravious Floyd was a tight end at UCF this past year. Josh Brinson played receiver at Pittsburgh. And Vincent Williams is the starting point guard this year at Georgia. I always told my kids use sports to get what you need.”
Stinson said he’s about five classes shy from graduating from Alabama with a degree in sports management.
“If I don’t make it to the league, I’ll probably use it to coach or something,” said Stinson, who has used his pickup truck to go home and visit his parents while Alabama has been in South Florida preparing for Monday’s game.
Although he became a first-time father last month (his daughter Sydney was born on Dec. 12), Stinson said he plans on coming back to Alabama for his senior season. His longtime girlfriend, Herron said, “already graduated from Alabama and has a good job. So there’s no pressure.”
Listed as the 15th-best defensive end in the 2014 class by NFLDraftScout.com, Stinson said he still has a lot to work on after his first full season as a starter. A converted linebacker, Stinson has 29 tackles, three sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss (second most on the team).
Teammate Damion Square said Stinson’s speed and athleticism could prove vital in chasing down Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson, whose elusiveness and ability to buy time in the pocket could be one of the biggest keys in the game.
Stinson, who said he hopes to be drafted by the Dolphins in 2014, laughed when he was asked whether he might have any special celebrations setup for the home crowd if he gets a sack or touchdown.
“Coach [Nick] Saban may get mad at me, but you only get once chance in life to do it,” Stinson said. “It’s going to be crazy to get on that field and play, a dream come true.”