In the Film Room: James Stone

As I began to watch the film of Maplewood offensive linemen James Stone for the first time I felt as though I had seen this prospect before. But no, this was indeed the first time I had broken down his film. I quickly realized that Stone reminded me a great deal of Class of 2009 signee Alex Bullard.

His frame, athleticism, and versatility are similar to Bullard which is what makes Stone such a solid prospect. The 6'4 ½ Stone is a bit taller than Bullard and possesses a very solid frame that makes the two Tennessee standouts similar in stature. Stone has very long arms and has the length to play offensive tackle as well as the potential for bulk, combined with excellent athletic skills, to move inside to guard. This versatility makes him a highly coveted prospect.

The Nashville, TN native shows good natural strength with solid upper body strength. Stone will need to significantly upgrade his lower body strength. Stone plays with a great motor and is always working hard. He's an aggressive player who shows good toughness. He fires off the ball quickly and aggressively after defenders and is always looking to deliver a hard blow to his opponent. Stone lifts up too high out of his stance which causes him to lose some of his power. He also has a tendency to lunge at times, which causes him to bring his feet together and lose his leverage. These technique issues prevent Stone from consistently playing with power and prevent him from being a great finisher at this point. He tends to lose defenders late. He doesn't, however, stop working and when he does lose an opponent he will fight to get back on him. Improvement in technique should help Stone develop into an excellent finisher. Stone shows good initial pop but he doesn't shoot them well at this point. He will learn to shoot his hands with more authority and work them in conjunction with his feet (footwork). Once he engages an opponent, however, he shows very good ability and strength with his hands. Stone does a nice job of extending his hands and keeping defenders at bay once he is engaged.

Stone's size, strength, motor, and toughness are all good traits; however, what makes Stone such an intriguing prospect is his excellent athletic skills and potential. Stone is quite athletic, smooth, and fluid for an offensive lineman. He shows excellent quickness off the ball as well as excellent snap recognition. Stone possesses excellent foot quickness as well as having very active feet. Stone shows very good speed in the open field and working to the perimeter. He has a tendency to get too high in open space which causes him to lose leverage, balance, and makes it harder for him to react to defenders. Better technique will give Stone the potential to be an excellent perimeter blocker and quite effective on screens. Despite having some issues with his technique, Stone does possess very quick and strong hands.

The technical issues with leverage, hand use/placement, and issues with finishing off blocks have already been discussed. If these issues can be improved upon, and they are all teachable skills, Stone has the size, strength, agility, and attitude to be an excellent run blocker. The Maplewood has some issues at times with taking poor angles or overshooting his target but again, these are technical issues. Finally, from a technical standpoint Stone will need a lot of work with his footwork from a technique standpoint. At times he doesn't take proper steps (too short or too long) and it prevents him from winning the initial battle when working the zone. But his quickness, strength, and aggressiveness allow him to overcome that and dominate at the high school level. Stone dominates in the run game at the high school level despite his technical issues. It shows his potential and in the run game he truly displays his tremendous quickness and aggressiveness. Stone does an excellent job working up to the second level. His quickness allows him to get there quickly; he keeps a good base as he attacks the defender, and then uses his strength and aggressiveness to dominate his defender.

Stone's quickness gives his an edge as a pass blocker. He is out of his stance quickly and keeps a good base. Stone uses his long arms and hand quickness to dominate pass rushers. Stone shoots quickly and does a good job of extending on the defenders when they engage him. As in the run game he will have to continue to develop his initial punch and placement as well as being able to quickly reset on defenders. Stone's quickness and athleticism also allows him to mirror well and he adjust very well to double moves. In college he'll need to improve his lower body strength to stand up against bigger and stronger bull rushers.

James Stone is one of the more versatile and athletic linemen in this class. The Class of 2010 is loaded with talented offensive linemen. Stone is by no means a finished product, which makes him not quite as talented as other players in this class at this moment. But Stone possesses as much natural ability as almost any player outside of the top couple of players in this class. He needs to go to a school with an offensive line coach who is a "fundamentals" teacher. If Stone does that, takes to the teaching, and continues to develop his lower body strength he could turn into a truly dominant college offensive linemen. He has a great frame that will allow him to get huge, he has a lot of room for growth in the strength department, and he has the athletic skills to dominate at either tackle spot or at the guard position. You can't teach his versatility and you can't teach his athletic skills. This is a young man who has the overall skill set to grow into an outstanding right tackle, guard, or what Notre Dame fans have been craving for years….a "true" left tackle. Top Stories