Stone develops nose for football with Yellow Jackets

Myles Stone

Staff Writer

There’s been a world of change in Myles Stone’s life over the last two years and he continues to come out the better for it.

Stone was playing all over the place for Class 2A Holly Springs as a sophomore. He worked at quarterback and wide receiver for the offense and cornerback on defense as he began to grow into his 6-2, 165-pound frame. It was there where he learned the basics of football, but his next step would start to prepare him for the future.

After Myles’ father, Joseph, was called to ministry at the Second Baptist Church in Starkville, an opportunity arose. Starkville High School first-year defensive coordinator Kevie Thompson saw Myles’ ability right away and put him at cornerback last season as a junior.

It was an obvious adjustment, but he’s quickly picked up on being in a more sophisticated defensive set and playing significantly better competition.

“It’s been a pretty big jump because each game I’ve had to learn something new,” Stone said.” I have to go against top talent every week and that’s something that I didn’t have at Holly Springs, but I took things that I needed from Holly Springs and now I’m learning different formations and things from Starkville. I’m on another level since being taught by coach Thompson and coach (Chris) Jones.”

Stone had four interceptions during his sophomore year playing cornerback along with his offensive duties, but he was able to focus in on defense full time at SHS. Last season, he was one of the top play makers in the state and had 49 tackles with six interceptions in his debut season with the Yellow Jackets. The play-making ability came easy, but Thompson just wanted to make sure Stone continued to learn the fundamental side of things.

“With him coming from a smaller school, one of the things we really wanted to hone in on this year was his eye discipline and he’s improved on that the most,” Thompson said. “He’s a ball hawk, but he continues to grow in his discipline and fundamentals.”

So far this season, all of that is paying off. He picked up offers shortly after his junior year from Louisiana-Monroe, Tennessee Martin, Mississippi Valley and several in-state junior colleges. It didn’t take long for one school to stand out.

Louisiana-Monroe, under new head coach Matt Viator, caught the eye of young Stone as a program that fit everything he wanted in his university. The team has consistently played great competition and challenged those teams to big wins and some close losses.

Assistant coach at Louisiana-Monroe John Carr has been a steady part of Stone’s recruitment over the last few months and was a big reason for his decision as was former SHS defensive lineman Derion Ford, who is finishing off his final season on the line there.

“I just love the program and like what they’re doing down there," Stone said. "They’ve got a family atmosphere and they’re playing some big schools. With district play starting, I didn’t want any distractions so I went ahead and committed.

“For one, they’re losing a lot of players with juniors and seniors. They talked highly of my size and my ball-hawking ability. They’re going to try to get me in the weight room because I haven’t been a part of a real weight room during most of my high school career. They really like my length and athletic ability.”

The development of Stone is just beginning. He’s already put on 10 pounds since his sophomore year with more to come as he fills out his long frame. He’s also become an even better and more disciplined defensive back which might drop his interceptions and overall numbers on paper, but speaks more to his success at the position as quarterbacks stay away from his side of the field.

With 12 tackles through the first four games and no picks, Stone is just fine with where things are right now. The same goes for his commitment as he prepares for his college football career and the next stage in life in mass communications as he aspires to be a broadcaster in the future.

“I feel pretty good,” Stone said of his decision. “It’s a really good spot for me. It’s a family atmosphere and not too far away from my family in Holly Springs and my family in Starkville.”