Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He appears weekly on The Red Zone w/ JB on 92.1 FM Fayetteville, The Morning Rush w/ Tye & Tommy on 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home, 99.5 FM in Fayetteville and The Zone w/ Justin & Wess on 103.7 FM in Little Rock.
The Recruiting Guy:
Sophomore D-lineman connects with ‘real’ Ashley
Arkansas defensive line coach Jermial Ashley is shown during practice Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Fayetteville.
University of Arkansas defensive line coach Jermial Ashley has made an early connection with sophomore defensive lineman David Stone.
“Real recognizes real, and we were talking about stuff that you need in life as a man and not just football,” Stone said.
Stone, 6-5, 255 pounds, of Del City, Okla., has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and others.
Ashley stays in tune with Stone’s accomplishments, including outstanding performances during spring and summer camps against other top prospects.
“He’s a great man, honestly,” Stone said of Ashley. "He’s seen and heard so many great things about me and how well I preformed.”
Stone turned heads as a freshman by recording 35 tackles, 7 sacks, 8 tackles for loss and 19 quarterback hurries while also blocking a field goal in Class 6A, the highest classification in Oklahoma.
Del City Coach Robert Jones said Stone played inside and outside during his first season with varsity.
“This year we’re going to run a three-man front, and he’ll play some nose [guard] and defensive end as well,” said Jones, who will also play Stone at tight end. “Very quick off the line. Very quick first step. His motor doesn’t stop. He plays to the end of the whistle. He’s very good with his hands. His arms are very long, so he’s able to get that separation.”
Jones said Stone showed very well against LSU and Alabama commitments during camps.
“He’s shown he can have success against those guys,” Jones said. “It’s not just one of those type deals where he’s having success against guys his own age, but against guys who are seniors. I think the sky is the limit for him. He just turned 15 in November.”
Jones said some of the publications in Oklahoma have compared Stone to former Sooner defensive lineman Gerald McCoy, a two-time All-American and the third overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stone also does well in the classroom, as evident by his 3.5 grade-point average. Academics are also discussed between Stone and Ashley.
“Like how to carry yourself on and off the field, and why it’s important to focus in the classroom as well,” Stone said.
Speculation on how recruiting will be affected by the ability of college athletes to earn money off their name, image and likeness is rampant.
“Well it’s definitely something I will take into account when making my decision, but then again it’s nothing too major of a deciding factor,” Stone said.
Jones appreciates Stone staying with the Del City program and his teammates despite having a chance to play his sophomore season at powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
“He showed his loyalty to us because IMG came in the middle of July and offered him a scholarship to come and play there,” Jones said. “He decided to stay.”
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