The Clemson Insider recently caught up with a highly-touted athlete in the 2024 recruiting class, who has multiple connections to the Clemson football program.
Every so often, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) four-star Joseph Stone, Jr. has kept in contact with Clemson wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham and co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Mickey Conn.
“Clemson, they do things a little slow, so for them to actually still be in contact with me, it means a lot,” Stone told The Clemson Insider. “I take that very seriously when I’m talking with them or whenever I’m just in their presence. I take it very seriously because for them to be in contact with me, that shows that they’re interested.”
Stone believes that Clemson views him as an athlete and not at just any single position and that’s because of his relationships with both Grisham and Conn. When he’s camped at Clemson in the past, he’s worked with both the receivers and the defensive backs.
Conn is often in contact with Stone’s head coach at Grayson, Adam Stone. While there are only specific avenues that they can communicate through, Conn will give Carter some feedback to pass along to Stone.
It’s been mentioned before, but Conn previously served as the head coach at Grayson High School and the relationships he’s cultivated in the surrounding area(s) hold a lot of weight on the recruiting trail. Conn now holding a coordinator title is only an added bonus.
“That’s definitely like a big role for him, stepping up,” he said. “That’s definitely like a big connection to have.”
Speaking of stepping up, that’s exactly what Stone did for Grayson across his sophomore campaign.
“When I get on the field, I feel like I’m gonna do what I do,” Stone said. “Me being at quarterback, I felt that this is what I have to do for my team. I never looked at it like a down part or anything, I just went head first.”
Stone felt as if he was a “get it done-type” quarterback. He could pass the ball when it was time to pass, but the majority of the time, if he needed to use his legs, he was able to do that. While quarterback is by no means Stone’s natural position, he showed that he was willing to do whatever it takes to help his team. He also was able to showcase his explosiveness as a playmaker.
He was named first-team All-Region (4-7A) and earned an All-County honorable mention for his efforts this past season.
This offseason, Stone will again train on both sides of the football as a two-way player. At the receiver position, he’s often focused on getting better at all aspects of his game, but one thing he’ll be honing in on this offseason is his finesse on his route running.
“I play a lot of positions, so sometimes in one position you can see it in another position,” he said. “That’s one thing I try never to do, though. That’s one thing that I do want to get better at is playing different positions and being the best in that position. Because not a lot of people can play a lot of positions and be proficient in that position as well.”
Stone views playing multiple positions as a blessing. When he’s on the field, he feels like he has a good sense of what’s gonna happen. Even if he doesn’t know, he feels comfortable because he knows that he can take on anything thrown his way, including playing the quarterback position.
There’s not a lot of players at the next level, whether it be college or the NFL, that demonstrate the same versatility or play the same number of positions that Stone does. His favorite player in the NFL, though, is none other than the former University of Tennessee and current New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara.
“I feel like his balance is crazy, his agility is crazy and his footwork,” Stone said. “One thing he doesn’t have as much as everybody else though is speed. I definitely have to have speed in my game, but that balance and that twitch and that elusiveness that he has, I definitely relate to that.”
At defensive back, Stone is a big fan of former Florida State University and current Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey. He also works out with Clemson freshman cornerback Nate Wiggins, who is a Westlake High School (Atlanta, Ga.) product.
“I definitely study his game a lot, just as far as learning from him because I have that personal relationship with him,” he said.
Whenever Wiggins is in town, Stone said that they try to “lock in” and work out with one another.
“I talk to Nate probably about every week,” Stone added. “See with Nate, we come from the same fire as far as the work ethic. His work ethic is the same as mine. We are always willing to work. He was just telling me to keep my head down and come in and work.”
Stone is hoping to be back in Clemson this spring, where he’ll have a chance to hopefully see Wiggins again.
He was in attendance for two Clemson games this past season. Stone attended the team’s season opener against Georgia at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sept. 4, 2021, and later made his return visit to The Valley for Clemson’s 30-20 win over Florida State at Memorial Stadium on Oct. 30, 2021.
Now that the 2021 season is over, Stone was able to take a step back and reflect on those gameday visits and their respective atmospheres.
“Now that I’m kind of more into recruiting and I’ve been to a couple of different schools, different game days and looking back on it, Clemson they have a great program,” he said. “Their gameday vibes, I love their gameday vibes at Clemson. It’s like everybody for the Tigers. They love football at Clemson.”
In addition to his interest from Clemson, Stone holds offers from Akron, Arkansas, Boston College, Charlotte, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, LSU, Memphis, Michigan, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pitt, Purdue, Tennessee, UCF, Utah and Vanderbilt.
Stone (5-11, 180) ranks as the No. 12 athlete and No. 68 overall prospect in the nation for the 2024 recruiting class, per 247Sports’ rankings.
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