Kendrick Stewart Q&A

At the conclusion of spring practices a few months ago, an unlikely name was positioned atop the defensive tackle depth chart. And now, redshirt freshman Kendrick Stewart hopes to take the same impressive play he displayed during the spring and hold on to his spot next to fellow lineman Andre Fluellen when two-a-day practices begin Monday.

Recently, the Lakeland, Fla. native and rising FSU noseguard spoke with about his expectations for the fall, continuing his strong play and doing his part in helping recruit some of the prep talent that attends his former high school. The following is a transcript of the exclusive Q&A: After redshirting last year, what is going through your head knowing that you will see your first action against Miami in just over a month?

Kendrick Stewart: "Just that I have to work hard. It's a lot of work. But if I listen to coach and do what he says I know I am going to get a chance. I just have to listen. It's going to be hot out here for two-a-days just like it's been all summer but you just have to fight through it and get ready for the season."

RR: After finishing the spring as the No. 1 noseguard on the depth chart, do you go into the fall with the mentality that the starting spot is yours to lose?

KS: "Yeah, I do. I mean, I just want to figure into the rotation no matter what but at the same time I want to be the starter. Especially since I could have the opportunity to start my very first game against Miami. It's a big game with a lot of importance and I'd like to have that chance."

RR: Overall, how do you feel about the summer workouts this year? It's been a hot one all summer.

KS: "It's been real hot and it's been real tough. The intensity has been good and we are all just trying to get better and be in shape for two-a-days. It just gets us ready to wear all the pads and all the equipment so it's been good."

RR: I have seen you out here a few times doing back flips. You know a noseguard isn't supposed to be able to do backflips, right? How does that athleticism help you in the trenches against big offensive linemen?

KS: "(Laughing) Oh yeah. I learned how to do it in second grade and just have always done it. It's really easy. It helps me with my quickness. I am shorter than most defensive tackles so I use my speed and my flexibility to get around blockers. I am quicker on my feet than most."

RR: I am sure that your position coach, Odell Haggins, gets a kick out of the fact that you can do that. What do you think of him as a coach?

KS: "He's intense and he gets on you sometimes but in the long run he really helps you out. He's a great coach and you can tell from the players that he puts into the NFL that he knows what he's doing. You look at the guys like Travis Johnson, Darnell Dockett and Brodrick Bunkley and he helped those guys out so I just listen to everything that he has to say."

RR: I wanted to ask you about your former high school. There are a lot of guys from Lakeland that are talented recruits with a lot of scholarship offers. Do you have any involvement in their recruitment to FSU?

KS: "Not really. I just tell them how great FSU is and that they should take their time and make the right decision. I told them that they can't go wrong with FSU, though. I have been here a year and I love it."

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