Signing Day Surprise

The biggest surprise of the day in Colorado recruiting? No, not Darrell Scott. Instead, it's running back Rodney Stewart. Inside, a story about the runner from central Ohio and how he came to be a Buffalo.

Rodney Stewart, from Brookhaven High in Westerville, Ohio, had a strong sophomore campaign in 2005, when he rushed for 1,200 yards. Then he suffered an ACL injury and missed his entire junior season.

That meant he was under the radar as 2008 recruiting heated up.

"He didn't have any junior tape and so nobody knew about him," Brookhaven High head coach Tom Blake told BSN Wednesday. "But he had a tremendous senior year for us here."

Tremendous indeed. Stewart rushed for 2,036 yards (10.8 yards per carry) and scored 33 touchdowns in 2007. He led Brookhaven to a 9-2 record and earned first-team All-State honors.

"We were 6-4 in 2006, and if we'd have had Rodney, we'd have probably been 9-1," Blake said. "He's an impact player."

Colorado coaches were still looking for a running back when Ohio linebacker, and CU commit, Doug Rippy mentioned Stewart. Rippy had played against Stewart since the two were youngsters. CU investigated and brought Stewart in for a visit this past weekend, and offered him a scholarship.

"I thought it was beautiful, and I fell in love with it," Stewart said of the visit. "I just liked the way it was calm and peaceful."

The 5-8, 180-pound back was impressed with his new position coach Darian Hagan, too.

"Coach Hagan is wonderful," Stewart said. "He expects a lot out of me."

In Stewart, the Buffs are getting a back with great quickness, according to Blake, who retired after this past season following a 30-year coaching career in central Ohio. He has sent players to Ohio State, Michigan and other schools.

"I don't back off from saying he's the quickest kid I've ever coached," Blake said. "We've had some kids that could run him down in 50 or 60 yards, but from the start and his lateral movement, he's extremely quick and explosive."

Stewart said he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash last December. He's also a trackster (sprints and relays) and ran a 10.7 100-meter dash.

"As a person, he's what I call a plugger," Blake said. "He goes to class, he does his work, he hangs in there. He's not going to quit in a drill, he's not going to quit in the weightroom, he's not going to quit in the classroom."

Stewart joins Ray Polk and Darrell Scott,'s No. 1-rated tailback, as running backs in CU's 2008 class.

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