South Carolina defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Clayton White celebrated his 44th birthday Thursday, and he treated himself to an in-home visit with one of his major targets, linebacker Stone Blanton of Madison, Mississippi.
The Gamecocks are battling Mississippi State and Ole Miss for Blanton (6-2, 220), and White apparently helped his cause with this visit.
“Oh, it was awesome. We had a great time,” Blanton said. “He came and saw me at school first, watched a little bit of (baseball) practice, then came over and had dinner with me and my parents. We had a really good time. And it was his birthday.”
White and Blanton have been in regular contact for months. Blanton made his official visit to Columbia in June, and he attended two games this season. So, there wasn’t much need Thursday to spend a lot of time talking football and schemes.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of football being talked about,” Blanton said. “This was kind of a real personable visit, and it meant a lot to us that he came all the way from South Carolina to see us. We didn’t talk a whole lot about football. We talked about South Carolina football, not necessarily about my role individually.”
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t some intensity in the conversation.
“He knows that the decision is coming up shortly because I’m signing December 15th,” Blanton said. “He’s a great coach, an even better guy. He’s an even better man. We always love getting to talk to him and getting to sit down with him for that long was super great. We could be really personable, and that’s one of the things I’m looking for, and trust him and trust the process and culture.”
Mississippi State also was in this week to see Blanton. He’s expecting USC head coach Shane Beamer and White to return Tuesday. He’s also looking for Bulldogs defensive coordinator Zach Arnett to return next week, and possibly an in-home with Ole Miss as well. After all of that, it will be go time on a decision.
“The plan is either right after the visits, if I feel called and led by God to make that decision then, then it will happen then,” he said. “If not, it could lead all the way up to signing day. They are all great people. It’s a tough decision.”
Blanton has been a Mississippi State baseball commitment but that is secondary to his final decision which will be based solely on the football opportunity.