Stone Talks About His ND Scholarship Offer

James Stone was shocked to find out he was even on Notre Dame's radar, much less offered a scholarship.

But on Monday afternoon, Irish assistant coach Rob Ianello made a trip to Maplewood High in Nashville, Tenn., to drop off a written offer for the 6-foot-5, 295-pound, class-of-2010 offensive tackle.

"I never really thought they would offer me," Stone said. He also holds scholarship offers from Stanford, Louisville, Alabama, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, North Carolina and Duke. "I've always admired their school. I know it's a great school to play football at, and I was very happy when I found out they offered me a scholarship.

Stone knows a little bit about the Notre Dame program, and now will make it a point to study up on his latest offer. He looks forward to talking with head coach Charlie Weis in the near future.

"I don't know a whole lot, but I know they have a long tradition," Stone began. "They're the Irish. It's a good school. I heard they have great, great academics there too, to go along with their football program."

Stone has attracted the attention of some of the nation's best programs after allowing just one sack in two years as Maplewood's starter at left tackle. He helped lead the program to the state championship game as a sophomore, and the team was knocked out in the second round of the playoffs this past fall.

This season's playoff loss still stings Stone, as he and his teammates wanted to take it a step further in the tournament from a year ago. They've have already started their strength and conditioning program for next season, and the recent scholarship offers have helped soften the blow a tad bit for Stone.

"It kind of does, but I really wanted to go far this year, but we still have next year we're looking for," Stone said.

Stone also doesn't plan on making any kind of college verbal commitment until his senior season.

"I'm just trying to keep my options open to see where I can play football and get my education on the next level.

"I'm looking for a balance between football and academics. I'm not really concerned about location, but I don't really want to go too far. If I really like the school, I'm not too worried about the location.

The only places Stone has visited so far are Alabama, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

"I'm trying to get to the rest of the schools in the near future. I'm probably going up to Notre Dame on the 24th for their junior day.

"Just to see the facilities, and see the people and just sort of get a feel for the school," Stone added of what he'll be looking to see in South Bend.

Though Stone doesn't have any clear cut favorites, a few schools look a little more enticing than the others right now.

"Now that they offered me, I really like Notre Dame a lot, and I like Vanderbilt a lot, and I really like Alabama a lot."

Notre Dame has had some recent luck recruiting the state of Tennessee, landing signatures and a verbal commitment from players like Harrison Smith, Golden Tate and Alex Bullard.

"I know of them, but I don't them personally," Stone said. "That gives me people to relate to since we're coming from the same area."

Stone reports a 3.7 GPA and scored a 24 on his ACT. Recently, college recruiters like Ianello have been a regular site around the halls of Maplewood.

"They said they like my footwork and they say they basically like how I play," Stone said. "One thing they say sticks out about me, is I have good footwork for my size."

Stone shouldn't be surprised if he shows up on a few more radars over the next several months. Top Stories