Stewart Checks Out UNC's Academics

M.J. Stewart decided to take advantage of his high school's spring break this week by visiting schools throughout the region starting with North Carolina on Monday.

Having made several visits to UNC in the past, Stewart, 6-foot, 175-pounder from Arlington (Va.) Yorktown, said Monday's visit was focused on exploring the academic side of the school.

"I talked to the head football academic coordinator," Stewart said. "And I spoke with a professor, who teaches in my major. I'm thinking about exercise and sports science.

"During the information session, they actually threw out some pretty amazing statistics. They said, I think, a 14-percent out-of-state acceptance rate – that really stuck out in my head."

Following the academic meeting and presentations, Stewart watched UNC's sixth practice of the spring.

"It's definitely different from high school," Stewart said. " It's real fast paced."

Stewart plays all over the field for Yorktown, but is leaning towards cornerback on the collegiate level. Thus, throughout practice on Monday, he focused on the cornerback group and its coach, Dan Disch.

"A lot of the techniques [Disch] taught were like what the coaches I work with at home," Stewart said.

Stewart has made four visits to UNC, including the football game against Maryland and a junior day earlier in the month. Maryland is the only other school he has visited as often.

"The more visits you make, the more of a feel you get for the college," Stewart said.

Stewart will make his third visit to Duke on Tuesday. He'll then visit Virginia Tech for the first time on Wednesday. On Thursday, he'll travel to Virginia for his third visit to the school.

Throughout his recruitment, Stewart has maintains his openness to every school. He says its possible he could name favorites by the end of these spring break visits. For the time being, he says UNC is high in his mind.

"I don't have a set place for [UNC], but they are up in the top five," Stewart said.

Stewart's goal is to make a verbal commitment before his senior year.

"I don't want to worry about [recruiting] during my senior year," Stewart said. "I want to be able to focus on my school and [football] season, but also to get some overnight visits [to the school I commit to] to verify some things."

Stewart's travel schedule this week actually began in Cornelius, N.C. with his participation at the Nike Training Camp on Sunday.

"It was cold, it was rainy," Stewart said. "It affected more mentally than physically. QBs had a wet ball to throw, so that kind of helped out the defense a little bit. Other than the mental aspect and a little shivering here and there, it wasn't too bad."

The combination of his competitive nature coupled with a desire to keep warm kept Stewart constantly on the field during one-on-one and seven-on-seven drills.

"When you go to these kind of camps, you have to make yourself stand out," Stewart said. "There were a few campers that were just standing on the sidelines. I didn't want to do that, because No. 1, I'll get cold and No. 2 I wanted to get the reps in."

As a result, Stewart was named the defensive back MVP.

"I feel like all the training that I've been putting in showed on the field," Stewart said. "There were little minor things that I know I could have gotten better.

"It's an honor to get the MVP anywhere you go. It means that coaches really evaluated you and liked how you played and that you stood out the most. There were two or three DBs out there that I thought were going to win it, but surprisingly I got it."

M.J. Stewart Profile

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