#STRecruiting: #Gamecocks on short list with 4-star LB, has him set for an official visit

Stone Blanton

LB Stone Blanton (6-2 220) of Madison, MS has been a Mississippi State baseball commitment for over two years, but he believes football is his future. He has turned his recruiting in that direction and Wednesday announced the seven schools he will move forward with. USC is on that list as Shane Beamer and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Clayton White have gone as hard as they can after the Magnolia State standout.

“The new staff up there, coach Clayton White, he’s been real awesome to me, and we set up virtual visits in the past and that’s how the relationship formed and got stronger,” Blanton said.  “I really love what they are doing over there.  Coach Beamer, he’s awesome.  He was on the virtual visit with me as well along with a bunch of the defensive guys.  I really believe in what they’re doing and I’m excited to see how they do this year and see what they have.”

The virtual visits Blanton has taken with USC have really worked in the Gamecocks’ favor. They have opened his eyes as to what they can offer him in Columbia.

“How they take care of their players is really awesome,” Blanton said.  “They have great strength coaches and awesome nutritionists which I thought was really cool, a full time nutritionists.  I talked to her and she seemed awesome, knows a lot about how to take players of the players and how to teach them.  The coaches work well together.  I can see that.  They have a great connection.  It just seems like it would be fun to fit in with their culture and see what I can do there.”

Playing catchup with the other contenders, the Gamecocks have done well just to get themselves into the top group with Blanton. And Blanton said the Gamecocks aren’t just there taking up a space.

“I really do appreciate them,” Blanton said.  “Everybody on that list has a legitimate show.  I had to narrow it down a little and really focus on these seven, which means all of them have a shot at me.”

Blanton has set official visits to USC for June 11th and Louisville for June 18th. Texas A&M, Oregon and Stanford also will get official visits, while Ole Miss and Mississippi State will get unofficial visits. The Bulldogs will have to win Blanton’s affection all over again, but this time from a football standpoint.

“I committed to Mississippi State for baseball back in 2019,” he said. “That was before football blew up, right after my sophomore season of football. That’s when I committed to them in baseball.  Then football blew up.  I love football and I knew it was going to lead to a football scholarship.  I love Mississippi State.  I have nothing but good things to say about them as well.  It’s going to be a football decision and play baseball as well.  I’d say it’s more 60-40 football.”

Blanton admits the other schools will be chasing Mississippi State as he goes thru the visits. He will, however, have an open mind as he judges one against another to see which best meets the criteria of the perfect place for him.

“Just to see if I fit in,” Blanton said.  “If I jell with the location, the coaches and see if I feel good about the players that are there and how they develop them.  Culture and trust are kind of the two biggest things I’m looking for.”

Blanton is not playing baseball this spring and summer after having labrum surgery. Because of that, he probably will not graduate early so he can play another season of high school baseball. He said he’ll make his decision either before his football season or soon after it.

Blanton is graded at the four-star level in the 247Sports Composite. He’s ranked the #10 inside linebacker nationally and the #6 prospect in Mississippi. Last season he had 121 tackles with 17 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.

Other Notes:

  • USC in top 3 with WR Addison Copeland of Buffalo along with Notre Dame and Rutgers.
  • USC offered five-star OG Alex Birchmeier (6-5 275) of Ashburn, VA. He’s ranked the #1 OG prospect nationally in the class and the #1 prospect in Virginia in the 247Sports Composite.
  • USC offered brothers 2023 LB Andrew Harris (6-2 190) and 2023 LB Michael Harris (6-0 190) of Altamonte Springs, FL.
  • USC offered 2023 four-star OT/DT Samson Okunlola (6-5 320) of Brockton, MA. He’s rated 7th nationally in his class at OT and the #1 prospect in Massachusetts. His brother is a 2022 DE and has a Clemson offer.
  • Texas offered 6-0 PG Jazian Gortman of Keenan.
  • 2025 LHP/OF/1B Patrick Dudley (6-3 186) of Virginia Beach, VA committed to USC.

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