Since very early in the recruiting process, Nashville (Tenn.) Maplewood offensive lineman James Stone has been one of the most highly-recruited linemen in the country. From the very beginning Notre Dame has been heavily involved with the four-star prospect and last weekend Stone was able to take in South Bend, Ind. for an official visit to see the Irish take on USC.
The visit was Stone's second official visit of the fall with the first coming to LSU. On this trip, Notre Dame didn't just host Stone. Stone was joined by his aunts, his brother, Maplewood assistant coach Brandon Woods and Maplewood head coach Ralph Thompson.
"It was a pretty good trip," Stone said of the visit. "It was a nice place and a good atmosphere. I got to talk to Coach Weis and the offensive line coach, Coach Verducci. We talked about how academically they graduated everybody and stuff like that."
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The coaches also talked about how they saw the versatile lineman fitting in at Notre Dame on the field.
"They say I can play more positions than one and they thought I could come in and help them run the football."
Aside from seeing the storied USC-Notre Dame rivalry first hand and speaking with the coaches, Stone spent time with administrators, admissions officers and players learning about the campus and getting a feel for the campus atmosphere. However, the atmosphere that impressed him the most was the gameday atmosphere.
"It was a pretty good game and you could see that they were fired up," he said. "Even though it was cold everyone out there was fired up and you could see that the team was fired up."
On or off of the field, the aspect of the visit that impressed Stone the most was the football players' interaction with the main student body.
"I liked how they keep you in there with the general population," he said. "They don't see you as separate from the other students. The football players are still a part of the campus and don't feel different."
All in all, Stone graded the visit a 7 on a scale of 1-10. With two visits down, he still plans on possibly taking three more. However, he may not take another official until the season is over. This weekend he will likely head to Tuscaloosa to see Alabama take on Tennessee. Up to now, the process has yet to wear on him.
"I like it," he said of the recruiting process. "I like going to the games and stuff like that. I'm starting to narrow it down some and find some favorites but not right now."