Recruiting: Jonathan Stewart

We had heard rumors that Oklahoma State was seen out in the Pacific Northwest recruiting Jonathan Stewart, one of the top running backs in the nation, but have had trouble reaching him for confirmation. The 5-10, 218-pound Stewart out of Olympia (Wash.) Timberlake just finished his high school career in the Washington State playoffs and Jason Fetters of did talk with him and filed this story.

It was a pain Jonathan Stewart hadn't experienced before and he hopes he never has to again. Sharp back spasms rendered the normal workhorse for Timberline High positively mortal, and even more so the next week during a playoff grudge match against three-time state champs Bellevue.

The Wolverines won by 40, and even a completely healthy Stewart may have only made a modest dent in that margin, but it's a chance he won't have again, at least with the Blazers.

"Right now I'm just trying to rest my back and then I'll start my training for the (U.S. Army) All-American Bowl," the number-one running back said Sunday. "They (back spasms) started during the Prosser game. The pain was sharp, but I'll be OK."

Stewart added that a trip to the doctor yielded a prognosis for no long-term back issues.

Something else that isn't a big help to those suffering back woes is a trip in an airplane, but Stewart braved the two-hour-plus trip from Seattle to Los Angeles to see USC play Notre Dame during an official visit.

"It was pretty cool," he said of his visit. "I wanted to see the tradition and I also wanted to get my own view on things down there, see what it was like from my perspective. I enjoyed my visit. It's definitely different than what I'm used to, but it's not as bad as some portrayed it to be."

DE Lawrence Jackson was Jonathan's host. "He was really down to earth," he said of LJ. "All the players on that team were really down to earth."

When asked for a highlight of the visit, Stewart couldn't name just one. "It was just fun," he said. "We just hung out a lot and ate a lot."

From the coaches' perspective, USC feels like Stewart could be a nice compliment to their run game. "With LenDale White and Reggie Bush, the coaches call it their 'Thunder and Lightning' package," he said. "I think I can be the 'Thunder' in that package."

But before Stewart becomes a true force of nature, he still has some more visits to take. "I'm going to Tennessee on December 10th and then to Oregon on either January 6th or 7th," he said. A new school - Oklahoma State - was mentioned by Stewart for his final official visit, but no trip to Stillwater has been set up yet.

And as he's done since the beginning, Stewart is holding his leaders close to the vest. He plans on making his decision the day of the All-American Bowl January 15th, but would not hesitate to wait if he still wasn't done with the recruiting process.

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