LOS ANGELES -- TCU Horned Frogs defensive end Stansly Maponga is a rare redshirt freshman to start on Gary Patterson's defense, let alone make a giant impact with 11 starts, 29 tackles, three for loss and 2.5 sacks.
He said he even surprised himself.
"I’m surprised a little bit, but I was working hard every day," said the 6-foot-2, 260-pounder from Carrollton. "I knew what I wanted and I just kept working hard to get it."
Perhaps it shouldn't come as such a surprise, considering that during his redshirt season he was tutored by one of the best to ever play the position for the Frogs -- Jerry Hughes, a first-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts.
Hughes came back to watch the Frogs' season opener against Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium. He gave the youngster a couple of pointers during the course of the game.
"I was kind of running into the offensive linemen and he told me you’ve got to pick an edge instead of running straight up," Maponga said. "That’s when I started getting my moves on and that helped me."
Maponga will put those moves to the test Saturday in the Rose Bowl against the mammoth offensive line of the Wisconsin Badgers. Maponga said it doesn't bother him that the Badgers on average outweight the Frogs D-line by 42 pounds.
"They're a big, physical team and I can’t wait to play them. It’s a great challenge," Maponga said. "I love getting physical, too, so I’m just ready for the game to come on."
As for those moves?
"You're just going to have to wait and see," he said.
big physical team and I can’t wait to play them. it’s a great challenge. I love getting physical so I’m just ready for the game to come on.