You have to go back to the first game of James Stone's varsity football career.
Starting at left tackle as a sophomore for Maplewood High in Nashville, Tenn., Stone allowed a sack in the season opener. Since then, Stone has stymied defenders at the line of scrimmage on every single passing down.
"I think James is outstanding," Maplewood head coach Ralph Thompson said. "We're talking about a kid that is 6-foot-5, 295, has great feet, a left handed, left tackle. He has 3.75 GPA, 24 ACT, and just all around great kid on and off the kid. Humble and modest, and one of those kids you never have to tell the same thing twice. He normally gets it right the first time.
"He's been our most dependable lineman the last two years."
After helping lead Maplewood to the state title game as a sophomore, and the second round of the playoffs this past fall, Stone is now the most touted lineman in school history.
Already with eight scholarship offers, Stone added another one on Monday. Notre Dame assistant coach Rob Ianello dropped by the school with a written offer to deliver.
"Oh, he was ecstatic about it," Thompson said. Stone has also been offered by Stanford, Louisville, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, North Carolina and Duke. "Just opening up the envelope and seeing the gold paper, the name Notre Dame speaks for itself. He realized to be a kid recruited by Notre Dame, they only go after the top athletes in each state, so to be considered one of the top players in the state of Tennessee is a tremendous honor."
Thompson said that Stone will be giving Irish head coach Charlie Weis a call this week.
At the moment, Stone has no favorites.
"I've been trying to pick his brain to see what way he is leaning towards, so we can focus on what camps we're going to go to, and where we're going to visit, but he's not hinting anywhere," Thompson explained. "I do know wherever he goes, it's going to have to be one of the top academic schools in the country. If the school doesn't one, graduate a high percentage of its players, and two, have the kind of prestige that goes along with getting a diploma from that school, where when you graduate you've guaranteed yourself a good paying job based on the credibility of that school, he's not going to be that interested."
Stone could visit Notre Dame this month for junior day.
"We're going to try and work it out and see if we can come up on the 24th, and see the Connecticut (basketball) game. We're not sure if we can work it out or not, but that's the first chance we're going to try and get up there."
More on Stone's scholarship offer to Notre Dame coming soon, as we try and reach the talented player after school.