Athlete Spotlight: Ian Stone, Football
- High School: Orangewood Christian
- College: Jacksonville University, Div. I
- Sport: Football
- Position: Quarterback
Ian Stone had a record-setting senior year, but had you asked him if it turned out the way he thought his high school career would end, he would probably say no.
Change of Plans
Growing up Ian always played quarterback in the youth football leagues, but as he entered high school, he was changed to playing free safety as a freshman and continued in that position through his junior year. It didn't really matter very much to Ian which position he played, though, as he thought lacrosse was going to be his sport. In fact, he was already talking with colleges about playing, but Orangewood football's head coach Bill Gierke had other thoughts.
At the end of Ian's junior year, Coach Gierke came to him and asked Ian to switch to playing quarterback, saying they needed him to lead the team. Ian stood at six foot three inches but at just 170 lbs., Coach Gierke explained Ian would need to transform his body in order to be an effective quarterback. So, the coach sent him to Mahmood Ghaisarzadeh, a well-known trainer to whom Coach Gierke has long trusted to get his athletes in top playing condition.
The hard work started almost immediately, and to Ian's credit, he embraced it. Conditioning and drills not only increased his core strength, flexibility and overall athleticism, but Mahmood also worked on sports-specific drills to aid Ian in the quarterback position.
"The first thing we did was sit down and talk about what I wanted to accomplish," Ian said of working with Mahmood. "Then he creates an entire plan including the diet, the nutrition, the training. And once we get in the gym, it's all serious work. At first, Mahmood worked to put mass on me but keep my speed but the training evolved throughout the year. When I walked onto the field, I was definitely in better condition physically than everyone else."
All the training paid off and Coach Gierke got to see the results on the playing field.
"I used to run a 4.9 forty-yard dash, but now I run a 4.5 or 4.6 forty," Ian said. "And I could only throw maybe 30 yards but now I can throw 50 or 60 yards." When the season finally started, with Ian at the helm for the offense, he weighed in at 210 lbs., a forty pound weight gain, but he was a well-conditioned quarterback machine.
Coach Gierke's decision to play Ian at quarterback after 3 years as free safety, may seem like a bit of a gamble. However, the coach isn't one of the state's winningest football coaches of all time without cause, and it appears he once again knew what he was doing. Ian ran for over 1200 yards, passed over 1000 yards, and led the school to a historic run making it all the way to the state championship.
This attracted the attention of several Division I schools, including nationally-ranked UCF and USF, who worked to recruit Ian to play for them. Ian ultimately passed on these schools, saying, "If I went to a bigger program, like UCF or USF, there was no guarantee I'd be playing quarterback, so that worked against them."
Ian finally accepted a scholarship to play for Jacksonville University, a Division I program that provided a smaller campus and playing environment. "It was the recruiting trip that really made my decision. It wasn't what I expected, and I just loved the coaches and the atmosphere. I was like, 'Wow! This is where I want to be!' Once I got up there, I knew this was where I wanted to go."
Ian plans to major in pre-med, wanting to become a medical doctor, although he isn't sure in what specialty yet. A strong student, Ian had a 3.8 GPA and scored over 1200 on his SAT. He credits this attention to his schoolwork to making him more attractive as a recruit. "Even Dartmouth and Tufts came and talked to me simply because of my grades and football. A lot of high academic Division III schools really wanted me," Ian explained, adding, "and my grades also helped me get more money at Jacksonville University."
Well-spoken yet humble, Ian is quick to credit Coach Gierke and Mahmood Ghaisarzadeh with aiding in the record-setting year he has finished high school on. He is a great example of everything a student athlete should be: excelling in the classroom as well as on the field.