Ole Miss target Stone Blanton recognized as one of best high school linebackers in the country
“I want to be recognized as the best, no doubt about it. When they say ‘all-pro middle linebacker,’ I want them to mean Butkus!”- NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkus
OXFORD, Miss. — Legendary linebacker Dick Butkus left his mark on the sport of football in more ways than one. At Chicago Vocational High School, he played both fullback and linebacker, and later was named a two-time All American in 1963 and 1964 at the University of Illinois where he played both linebacker and center.
Butkus, who played nine years for the Chicago Bears, still remains the gold standard for a middle linebacker as he defined the role.
The “stone maniac,” as pro football Hall of Fame defensive end Deacon Jones used to call Butkus, racked up 1,020 tackles, notched 22 interceptions, and tallied 25 fumble recoveries in his pro career before his retirement in 1973.
It was no surprise that six years later in 1979 Butkus would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Though the sport at every level has evolved, the qualities Butkus valued as a person and an athlete still have strong roots in the game today. Each season, the Butkus Foundation continues the tradition by honoring the best linebacker in high school, college, and professional levels who embody the same strong traits to join the brotherhood of great linebackers.
It’s no surprise Ole Miss target Stone Blanton has been named a semifinalist for this prestigious award.
High School Butkus Award Semifinalist 🏈
— Athletics | MRA (@MRAAthletics) November 1, 2021
Blanton, a Class of 2022, 4-star middle linebacker out of Madison Ridgeland Academy, joins 15 of the nation’s top high school linebackers being named semi-finalists for the Butkus Award.
Blanton is one of the most sought-after recruits in the nation— especially by the Ole Miss Rebels. Blanton not only thrives on the football field, but is also a star on the baseball diamond.
Currently, committed to playing baseball in Starkville for the Bulldogs, Blanton is still being pursued by the Rebels who are hoping for a flip in the ‘Sip.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound Under Armour All American currently ranks as the No. 39 overall linebacker in the country and No. 9 athlete, at any position, in the state of Mississippi, according to the 247Sports Composite.
While he missed a few games early in the season, Blanton’s return has brought nothing short of a defensive revival for his team. The Patriots had a rough start, beginning the season 1-3, but since then have pulled off eight straight wins as they now sit at 9-3.
The team is in a perfect position to control its destiny, standing at 5-0 in Region 1-6A after closing out the regular season with a 45-23 victory over Hartfield.
MRA begins district play Friday, Nov. 12th. Blanton and his team look to get one game closer to that state championship which remains at the forefront of his mind.
On the season, Blanton has tallied 106 tackles, to go along with a whopping 22 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, four pass breakups, and one interception for a touchdown.
Congratulations to this week's Blitz16 @PattyPeckHonda Player of the Week, Stone Blanton! Blanton is a Senior LB at MRA with 9 Tackles, 1 Tackle for Loss, 1 Interception Returned for a Touchdown! pic.twitter.com/GIMCTzvn0x
— 16 WAPT News (@16WAPTNews) October 29, 2021
Blanton tells The Rebel Walk what being named a semifinalist means to him.
“It means a lot to me and my team. I wouldn’t be where I am without my teammates and coaches. We are focused on winning the state championship.”
MRA Linebacker Stone Blanton
That statement speaks for itself as to why so many programs want an athlete like Blanton. He is the sort of kid who gives of himself out on the field, and it is evident the success of his team is what comes first for him.
With just a little over a month before the early signing period, you can bet Ole Miss will continue to go hard to convert Stone Blanton to all things Hotty Toddy!
Here’s the complete list of the 16 high school players across the country who are the Butkus High School Semifinalists.
Butkus High School Semifinalists (by State and School)
Robert Woodyard, Lillie B. Williamson, Mobile, Ala.
Niuafe Tuihalamaka, Bishop Alemany, Mission Hills, Calif.
Jimmy Rolder, Marist, Chicago, Ill.
Dasan McCullough, Bloomington South, Bloomington, Ind.
Nolan Ziegler, Catholic Central, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Joshua Burnham, Traverse City Central, Traverse City, Mich.
Stone Blanton, Madison-Ridgeland Academy, Madison, Miss.
Jalon Walker, Salisbury, Salisbury, N.C.
Devon Jackson, Harry A. Burke, Omaha, Neb.
C.J. Hicks, Archbishop Alter, Dayton, Ohio
Gabe Powers, Marysville, Marysville, Ohio
Jaylen Sneed, Hilton Head, Hilton Head, S.C.
Harold Perkins, Cypress Park, Cypress, Texas
Kobie McKinzie, Lubbock Cooper, Lubbock, Texas
Lander Barton, Brighton, Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Shawn Murphy, Unity Reed, Manassas, Va
Note: Our Director of Recruiting Lee Ann Herring visited with Stone Blanton and his MRA head coach Herbert Davis earlier this year. Click here for those interviews.
Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo
Lee Ann is the Director of Recruiting for The Rebel Walk. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist and NFL content writer. She is also the Sr. Editor for MESPORTS digital. Herring-Olvedo is a Brown University graduate who loves good cigars, good games, and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order.