Defensive end Steven Stone of Conway (Ark.) High School returned home Wednesday from a visit to Vanderbilt, and 24 hours later, his decision was clear. "I called up Coach [Bobby] Johnson and told him I wanted to be a Commodore," the 6-foot-6, 230-pounder said Thursday. In accepting Vandy's scholarship offer, he becomes the 20th commitment for the class of 2005.
Just Wednesday, Stone had told Scout.com he was torn between Vanderbilt and Rice, two schools that both offer outstanding academics as well as Division I-A football programs. What pushed Vandy over the edge?
"They're both great programs, and it was a tough decision," he said. "But Vanderbilt just seemed like it would be a real good fit for me, with the academics and the program. I really liked the coaches, and I liked the location.
"I liked the way the program is going, too. I'm excited about it."
After a senior season in which he registered 87 total tackles playing exclusively as a defensive end, Stone earned All-State, All-Faulkner County and All-Academic honors for the Conway Wampus Cats. He is also a star forward/center for the school's basketball program.
He will bring the to the Commodores a sterling academic background, as well as a 32 ACT score. Arkansas, Ole Miss and Central Arkansas had all shown interest, in addition to Rice.
"Because of his strong academic background, he [was] going to make a choice between [Rice and Vanderbilt]," said Stone's high school coach, Kenny Smith. "He's not entertaining any thoughts from anyone else."
"My parents let me make my own decision," said Stone, who plans to ink scholarship papers Feb. 2. "They supported me in every way. They enjoyed the visit too. They liked Vanderbilt a lot too. I'm just looking forward to getting up there."
The commitment was Vanderbilt's sixth in the last eight days. Another defensive end, Derrius Dowell of Atlanta, committed on Monday.
For a complete, previously published scouting report on Conway High School's Steven Stone, click here. For a complete list of Vanderbilt's commitments for 2005, click here.
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