Photo by Lonnie Kees

Madison-Ridgeland Academy junior linebacker Stone Blanton will be playing in the 2022 Under Armour All-American Game after getting an invite Friday night after MRA’s 27-26 victory over Trinity (Texas) Christian School in the season opener at MRA.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Blanton, rated as the No. 5 junior inside linebacker in the country by ESPN, received his invite from Demetric Warren, a representative for the game, Blanton said. Warren was at the game Friday night.

“The invite was one of the greatest feelings ever, not only did it come after a great team win, but it’s been a dream ever since I was younger,” Blanton said. “It was an amazing experience and I’m super excited about what the future holds.”

“Getting the invite just proves what I’ve been saying,” MRA coach Herbert Davis said. “He’s one of the best in the country.”

Blanton had 17 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in the win over Trinity, which had a 40-2 record and won three straight Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools championships over the past three years. Senior quarterback Shadeur Sanders, son of the NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, is the star on this year’s team. Blanton was in on two sacks of Sanders.

Blanton will be the second Metro Jackson MAIS player to play in the Under Armour All-American Game in the past three seasons. Jackson Prep alumnus Jerrion Ealy, now a sophomore running back at Ole Miss, was the co-MVP in the 2019 Game. Blanton had 66 tackles, 17.5 for losses, and four sacks despite missing six games last season due to an injury. He helped lead MRA to a 12-2 record and the MAIS Class 6A state title, breaking Prep’s seven year state title run, with a 49-33 win over Prep in the state title game.

Blanton, a Mississippi State baseball commitment, has been offered in football by at least one school in every Power 5 Conference, SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10 and Pac 12. He has offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Tennessee from the SEC, Duke, Georgia Tech and Virginia from the ACC, Oklahoma State and Baylor from the Big 12, Oregon from the Pac 12, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Big 10, Louisville from the AAC and Florida Atlantic from Conference USA. Provine High wide receiver Deion Smith, an LSU commit, and Southaven High wide receiver Isaiah Brevard, an Oregon commit, are the two Mississippians invited to play in the 2021 Under Armour All-American Game.