Stewart Making Them Proud

The story of Walter Stewart is one of hardship, drive and inspiration. But with the help of many the Bearcats redshirt freshman knows the best is yet to come.

Two years ago Walt Stewart was playing the waiting game and hoping to earn a scholarship offer from any college that would take him.

Having gone from Columbus (Ohio) Franklin Heights to a smaller school (Teays Valley) may not have been the best answer to his college football dream, but Stewart did the work needed to dominate on the playing field and turn the heads of the Bearcats staff.

Now, Stewart has taken his place in the Bearcats starting lineup with the loss of Curtis Young to injury and while he knows he's only keeping Young's spot on the field warm he's enjoying his new role.

"It's fun to actually be contributing to the wins and I'm just really excited to be out there playing and doing what the coaches want me to do."

Leading up to the Oregon State game things were normal for Stewart until that practice that saw go down. Like most young players nerves play a role leading up to their first start and Stewart was no different.

"It was a little nerve racking knowing I was going to be starting the game. I usually get about 15-20 reps per game. But after the first or second series I felt comfortable out there and just played."

While his road to the college football world may have been hard it has helped him be ready to play early when the Bearcats made a change to their defense.

"The change in defense wasn't too bad for me as we ran the 3-4 at my high school. So the move really helped me out a lot as I was use to being in a standup position."

Despite having played the position in the past Stewart knew his role was changing as a starter.

"The biggest change is that you know you're there to make plays. As a backup you're going in to spell a player for a few reps but now you have to take your game to another level."

Coming from Columbus the redshirt freshman heard the talk of teammate and fellow Central Ohio Bearcat Isaiah Pead when it came to Ohio State last week. Does he feel the same as Isaiah?

"Right now I'm just focused on Miami. While it would be nice to play Ohio State, they don't appear on our roster so I don't worry about them."

One thing Walt has learned about is this weeks opponent Miami.

"Coach Kelly has talked about the importance and what the rivalry means to the university. He talked about how long they've been playing this game and I know it means a lot to a lot of people."

While the Oregon State game will be one to remember. Last weeks game against Fresno State was even more special as some special guest came to watch Walter play.

"The Fresno State game was very special as my mother and little brother came up from Atlanta to see me play. My foster parents were also at the game and it was really special for all of them to see me play."

While having his mother and little brother watching him play was special, Walter knows if not for his foster parents this dream he's living may have never happened.

"My foster parents mean the world to me. They took me in and made sure I stayed on track and it's because of them I made it here. I'm just their son now and it's a good feeling to know there are people out there helping others."

Has being a college student-athlete sunk in yet?

"It's still a dream because I can't believe where I came from and now being in college. I'm thankful that I've been given this opportunity."

And what do the people he went to school with say about his success?

"They just tell me their proud of me and that their watching me and how happy they are for me.'

For Walt Stewart the path taken has shown him he must work hard and continue to work each and every day. The Oregon State and Fresno State games were just the tip of what Stewart expects out of himself.

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