Stewart, a 6-2, 205-pound running back from Maryville High School, says that he is looking forward to joining Tommy Tuberville's Auburn football program in 2003. However, a more immediate concern is the 2002 campaign as he hopes to lead Maryville to a third straight state championship. Last year, as a junior, he was named MVP of the state title game as Maryville won a thriller vs. Hillsboro High of Nashville.
"I would say that state championship game was my favorite so far because Hillsboro had such a good team and we had to come from behind to win," Stewart tells Inside the Auburn Tigers. He had 173 yards on 25 carries in that game.
Carl Stewart plans to carry the football for the Auburn Tigers in 2003.
Stewart is off to a strong start as a senior with 250 yards on just 19 carries through two games. "The first two games were against teams that didn't challenge us physically so we will have tougher opponents later in the season," he says. Stewart's start has impressed lots of colleges who have been heavily recruiting him. In fact, there have been so many offers that Stewart, a strong student who will have no problems qualifying, says he can't even remember them all.
His stock as a recruit began rising considerably as he put up impressive running numbers as a junior. He was a standout at a variety of 2002 summer football camps, including one at Auburn and the Nike Combine at the University of Georgia.
Stewart says SEC colleges Tennessee and Alabama were on his short list and he also liked Division I-AA Furman, a South Carolina school with a strong academic reputation and a winning tradition in football. He also had offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Duke, Vandy and "many others."
Maryville High runs out of a split back formation and Stewart is playing exclusively on offense for a traditional powerhouse team that posted a 14-1 record last season. In the past, he has played defensive end.
"I consider myself a power runner who has breakaway speed," says Stewart, who finished fifth in the state decathlon competition as a junior. "I try to be an aggressive runner. I like to be the player who delivers the hit on the defense instead of being the one who is getting hit. I also like to run outside and use my speed."
Running inside and outside, Stewart picked up 1,430 yards on 156 carries with 21 touchdowns as a junior and should have a good chance to improve on those numbers as a senior.
Stewart has been playing the violin even longer than he has been on the football field and says that Maryville High has one of the top orchestra programs in the state of Tennessee. "Playing the violin is something I really enjoy," he says. "We have a really large orchestra. We have around 130 people in it."
The big running back says he also does a lot of training for the decathlon, the grueling 10-sport track and field competition. Although he always gets a late start on basketball season because Maryville's football season runs into the start of basketball because the team goes deep into the state playoffs, he does well on the basketball court. Even though he is only six-foot-two, he is such a good rebounder that he sometimes plays center.