The accelerated pace of the recruiting game has meant that more and more of the top national recruits are committing early. One prospect with a national pedigree that has yet to even narrow his list is Rivals100 offensive lineman James Stone. With offers from around the country, the senior from Nashville (Tenn.) Maplewood has plenty of options and is taking steps to finding the option that fits him best.
This summer, Stone camped at Tennessee and Alabama and as the fall season approaches, he is starting to piece together what his official visit schedule may look like.
"We've been thinking about it and talking about it," Stone said of his official visits. "I haven't really set one up except for the Notre Dame one. I'm going to take all five if possible. I can't think of the exact date of the Notre Dame visit but it's going to be during the season."
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With Notre Dame locked in, Stone has a diverse and competitive group of schools still posturing for his other four visits.
"The group that's really recruiting me the hardest is Vanderbilt, Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn, Notre Dame, LSU and Stanford," he said. "They're really recruiting me the hardest right now. LSU, I've been getting more letters from them lately but other than that it's been steady correspondence with all the schools."
As he starts to map out the remaining four visits for the fall, Stone will be deciding where to trip based on a balance of interest level and facility.
"I'll be going to the schools that I'm interested in and the schools that I've never had a chance to go and visit," he said. "The ones I'm interested in and haven't had a chance to see first hand, those are the ones I'll visit."
While Auburn, Vanderbilt, Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame and Stanford are highest on Stone's list due to their level of interest in him, the big tackle made it clear that he hasn't limited his options to that group.
"Those are the schools that I'm looking at the hardest right now but it's still open because I'm still listening to other people," he said. "Like I'm still talking to Texas Tech. I'm not really ruling anybody out."
With the start of the season, Stone will be stepping into a senior leadership role in a program that has been among the state's best for the past two seasons. Though being a senior will be new to Stone, being a leader certainly won't.
"I was sort of a leader last year but now I'm a leader especially because I'm one of the only players on the team that has as much game experience as I do and starting experience," he said.
Stone will certainly be counted on heavily. While anchoring the offensive line at left tackle, Stone also plays nearly every snap on the defensive side of the ball as well. With his leadership, Maplewood is hoping for no less than a state championship.
"That's always our goal to win a state championship," he said. "We've got a great group of guys that can do it. We just gotta execute. That's one of the big things. We feel like if we can execute, we can win every game."