LB Stone Blanton (6-2 220) is on the fast-track to a commitment decision, and USC is very much in the hunt for him along with Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Texas A&M on his short list. Blanton took his official visit with the Gamecocks the weekend of June 11th. He returned this past weekend with his mother for an unofficial visit flying in on Saturday morning after his game in Arkansas.
“I just spent a day there. I ate at the lounge and talked with the coaches. Coach (Clayton) White came up there and sat down with me and had a meal with me and my mom, and he was able to talk to me before the game, which was super cool,” Blanton said. “I talked to Coach (Shane) Beamer also right before he walked out for his warmups. That also was super cool.”
Blanton focused on the Gamecocks’ linebacker play during the win over Eastern Illinois, a game in which the defense pitched a shutout for the first time since a 34-0 win over NC State to open the 2008 season.
“I loved it,” Blanton said. “He sent them after the quarterback a good bit and blitzed them. They attacked the run really well. I was a huge fan of how he used them and got off the quarterback and were able to attack the run.”
Blanton also was impressed by the atmosphere he witnessed around the players and staff, and in the stands with the fans.
“The atmosphere and the culture is definitely different,” Blanton said. “They had positive image. They were feeding off each other. There was a kind of a swagger confidence about them, something you’re not use to seeing from South Carolina. I felt it throughout the whole facility. Fans, everything, there was just a confidence about them and how they are going to be different this year.”
The Gamecocks were already in a good position with Blanton going into this visit, and their cause was only helped by his experience.
“It just solidifies how I think about them,” Blanton said. “Getting to see them in game atmosphere compared to summer atmosphere, I thought it would be different, but it wasn’t. They were the same all the way through. That’s really special to see. They said how they were on gameday, and I actually got to see that, so that was super reassuring and great to see.”
Blanton also is a major college baseball prospect, but he said he didn’t meet with anyone from the baseball staff while on this visit. He did meet with Mark Kingston in June during his official visit.
Blanton will take two more official visits this month before his decision. He is going to Ole Miss September 18th and to Mississippi State September 25th. He visited Texas A&M unofficially in early June.
Blanton is coming off labrum surgery and has played in two full games this season totaling 24 tackles.