Stewart sets final visits

Nick Saban and his staff have done a good job recruiting the New Orleans area in his three years at LSU.<br><br>He has already secured three commitments for 2003 from one of the top prep programs in the state but the headman is looking for a couple more pledges to give him one of the country's best recruiting classes.

Nick Saban and his staff have done a good job recruiting the New Orleans area in his three years at LSU. He has already secured three commitments for 2003 from one of the top prep programs in the state but the headman is looking for a couple more pledges to give him one of the country's best recruiting classes.

One of the players Saban has targeted is all-everything defensive lineman
Carnell Stewart (6-5, 300, 4.8) of River Ridge-John Curtis. Stewart is rated eighth among the nation's top defensive tackle prospects by TheInsiders.com but he is being projected as a defensive end at the next level due to his speed and quickness for someone his size.

Stewart made one official visit to
Colorado the weekend before Christmas and he left Boulder impressed with the Buffaloes' program and the mountainous surroundings. "It went good," Stewart told Tiger Rag. "I liked the surroundings. It was new. The facilities were good and the people were cool."

His final four official visits are set and there is a new team that has attracted his interest.

"I'm going to
Florida on Jan. 10th, LSU during the week on the 14th, Miami on the 24th and Michigan on the 31st," Stewart said. "I'm wide open right now."

Academics are very important to Stewart and his family and that is the primary reason he wants to go to LSU for a midweek visit.

"I like the new academic center they just built and I want to see how the classes go during the week," said Stewart. "They always add new stuff for the students and that is what I like about LSU."

Another thing he likes about the Tigers' program is the direction it is headed under Saban and his top-rated staff.

"I like coach Saban and all of the coaches," he said. "I've been there for camps the past three years and now I just need to see where I fit in on the depth chart with them."

Stewart had a super senior season even though he was constantly double-teamed. He finished the campaign with 19 sacks and he forced the opposition to fumble seven times.

The big man showed his athleticism on special teams as he contributed six blocked kicks for the Patriots, en route to another state title. He credits longtime John Curtis coach J.T. Curtis with helping him to develop into one of the nation's most heavily recruited linemen, along with serving as his mentor.

"He (J.T.) taught me so much," Stewart said. "He taught us most stuff coaches do not even teach in high school to get us ready for the next level. He lives right down from me so I get to see him all of the time and to talk to him a lot."

Stewart is a full academic qualifier and he hopes to make a decision when he returns from his final visit.

Sonny's View: Stewart has a keen eye on each school's academic support system and that could play into the Tigers' favor. Watch out for Miami, though! The Hurricanes want him badly.

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