August 7, 2018 11:24:29 PM
Editor's Note: This is the latest installment in a series that will feature some of the area's top prep football players. These players are expected to receive the most attention from college coaches/scouts. The Dispatch will profile a player each day leading up to the start of the regular season Friday, Aug. 17.
STARKVILLE -- At this point last year, the prospect of Class 6A football in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) was intimidating for Myles Stone. Now he has his sights set on Division I football without an ounce of fear.
When Stone transferred from Holly Springs to Starkville last season, there were questions, both form onlookers and from Stone himself. Now, everything has been answered. All that's left to be seen is how much more Stone can do with a senior season and if that creates a scholarship offer from a Power 5 conference school.
"When I first got out here, I had to get adjusted to how big everything was: the players, the offices, I had to adjust to it," Stone said. "Each game, I got more confidence in myself.
"At first, I didn't think I could play here."
Stone quickly proved himself wrong, as he needed no time to solidify himself as a starter. His six interceptions last season are the most any Yellow Jacket has had in a season since 2010, to make no mention of his nine pass deflections on top of it. Starkville coach Chris Jones saw that talent in him from his first day in practice and set high expectations for Stone even when Stone didn't do so for himself.
Now, everyone expects this from him.
"If the ball comes down anywhere within 15 yards of him, he's coming down with it. He wants the ball in the air," Starkville defensive coordinator Kevie Thompson said.
That junior season netted him interest from some in-state junior colleges, Tennessee-Martin from the FCS level and UL Monroe in FBS. Stone said ULM is the leader as he enters the season, with hopes that more attention comes his way.
He knows this is his time.
"Where I come from, I've been hidden," Stone said. "I come from a small school, small city, so I couldn't really showcase my talent. I believe I can put on a show this year and show some big-time colleges.
"It wasn't a fluke. I'm real. I'm the real deal. Last year brought it out of me, so now I'm trying to show that I'm not a one-season wonder."
Reaching that new height requires effort, and Stone knows that. He made a priority of working on his speed, knowing his lengthy 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame isn't conducive to quick bursts, and he worked to address that.
As Stone develops into the complete package and a college prospect, Thompson has one more expectation for him.
"Lead," Thompson said. "I think it's something he does naturally. I think he does a great job in everything he does, but continue to lead us."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
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