"One thing that he's really got is a natural ability to tackle," Butler head coach Brian Hales said. "He gets guys to the ground – he doesn't miss many tackles. He's far from a finished product. These guys with these long limbs, it takes a little while for their bulk to catch up, but he's getting there."
Stewart began his prep career playing offensive line and some defensive line as a freshmen. That situation flipped during his sophomore year as he became a more athletic.
"He's a developing player," Hales said. "When he came to us, he was extremely raw. What we had was just a long-limbed kid with just a whole bunch of athletic ability. We weren't quite sure what we could do with him at first."
Stewart's athleticism continued to flourish during the off-season prior to his junior year. That led to a move to linebacker. Stewart responded by securing one of the starting inside linebacker spots in Butler's 3-4 defense alongside Peter Kalambayi, a four-star prospect who signed with Stanford earlier in the month.
"With our defense, we try to have so many players all over the place," Hales said. "Sometimes he's blitzing, sometimes he's dropping into coverage, but we always count on him to help in run support."
Stewart ended the season with 115 tackles and six sacks as Butler went undefeated and won its third NCHSAA 4AA title in four years.
Stewart is awaiting his first scholarship offer, but he's receiving significant interest from Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Michigan, North Carolina, NC State, and Penn State.
That interest has resulted in game invitations to Clemson, UNC, and Penn State. But, Stewart has only been able to make game trips to Clemson and UNC. For the Tar Heels, he attended the final game of the season against Maryland.
"The atmosphere was great," Stewart said of the UNC-Maryland game. "I could tell that the college was the center of the town. There was a lot of southern hospitality – everybody knew each other and the food was good. I saw the whole [Old Well Walk]. Fireworks went off [after every score]. It was a lot of fun."
Stewart was also able to spend some time with Gunter Brewer, who recruits the greater Charlotte area for UNC, prior to the game.
"[Brewer] showed me around and introduced me to the head coach," Stewart said. "He told me that they saw me hitting and they know that I can hit hard. It seems like they're really interested."
Stewart was supposed to return to Chapel Hill in January for the Tar Heels' Junior Day. However, icy weather conditions kept him from making the trip. He plans to reschedule the UNC trip at some point in the coming months, as well as junior days at Clemson and Georgia.
At this early stage of Stewart's recruitment, three schools stand out.
"I like Clemson because it's really like a football school," Stewart said. "I like Georgia, because it's a big school, but I haven't been there yet. I like Carolina because they have a good academic program and they have my field."
Stewart's oldest brother, Roger, played linebacker at NC Central. His other brother, Austin, is a sophomore defensive back at Texas Tech.