Becoming Noticed

Things have really picked up for Jonathan Stewart since the spring evaluation period, with the 6-foot-3, ½, 225-pound linebacker from Shreveport, La., seeing his offer list nearly double.

Notre Dame is one of the schools that semi-recently joined the mix with a full-ride invitation, after Irish assistant coach Mike Haywood stopped by C.E. Byrd High back in early May, to deliver his card and get a look at Jonathan Stewart in person. Vanderbilt is the latest program to offer a scholarship, giving Stewart 19 total.

"I'm still the same person," Stewart said. "It hasn't changed me too much. You become a little more noticed in public."

College programs are trying to become more noticed by Stewart, as he looks to narrow down a list of favorites before his senior football season kicks off.

Three schools have emerged as likely official visits. They are Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Tennessee. Stewart isn't sure about the other two officials, and doesn't plan on making a verbal commitment until he is done with his trips.

"I like the coaches, and I like the schools and the areas around," Stewart said of those three programs.

Notre Dame is definitely still in the mix. But so is places like Michigan, Arkansas, SMU, California, Kentucky and Ole' Miss.

Stewart tries to call Haywood once per week.

"We just talk about football and life, stuff like that," Stewart said.

"I've just learned they've been slacking the past year, and they're trying to bring the program back to what it was in the years before. He just tries to tell me, they try and recruit elite players so they can start winning some more games again."

Judging by Stewart's game, he can certainly help.

In assisting the Yellow Jackets to a 9-3 record last fall, Stewart recorded 109 tackles, three sacks and one interception. The inside linebacker with 4.64 speed in the 40-yard dash (Nike Combine), earned All-District and All-City honors.

"We're looking good," Stewart said of his team. "We'll be real experienced. Fourteen of the starters should be seniors, so we should be experienced."

From the same high school as Notre Dame graduate Arnaz Battle, Stewart has yet to get a chance to talk with the NFL receiver. He also hasn't got a chance to talk with his head coach much about the Irish, who was also the coach when Battle was starring down in Shreveport.

"When school starts back, I'll probably here a lot more about Notre Dame," Stewart said.

He'll also hear a lot more from classmates, teachers and people in the community, wondering more and more where the big-time recruit with a growing offer sheet is going to college.

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