Oregon among top-3 for Stewart

Jonathan Stewart, 5-10, 218, Lacey (Wash.) Timberline HS, played his last high school football game last Saturday in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Stewart's West squad won the one-sided contest 35-3 in front of over 30,000 fans and a national television audience on NBC.

Stewart had four carries for 30 yards, in an offense that was determined to throw the ball long. While his carries were limited, he was impressive in his ability to make tacklers miss him and suddenly accelerate through holes. He also was nearly impossible to be stopped by one defender. Stewart is the No. 1 nationally ranked running back by Scout.com and has a 5-star rating.

The game was held in a festive environment as the U.S. Army went all-out to make an appeal for young people that are at the stage of their lives when they must consider what the will do with their future. Along with the assorted displays of Patriot Missile mounted HumVees, U.S. Army sponsored dragsters and racecars, were repelling teams that delivered the game ball for the kickoff. Several thousand camouflaged-clad G.I.s were brought in from nearby Fort Sam Houston to enjoy the contest. Six Congressional Medal of Honor recipients were also introduced just prior to a swearing in ceremony of over 100 enlistees who formally joined the Army at the game.

Stewart is a very quiet young man with impressive physical attributes. His physique could cause some to be reminded of Barry Sanders, the legendary ball carrier for the Detroit Lions and a celebrity that was part of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl celebration.

Oregon is one of Stewart's finalists and was the first school mentioned when asked what schools are his favorites.

"Oregon, Washington State and Tennessee," responded Stewart to the oft-asked question.

There had been reports that Stewart will visit the University of Washington but when pressed if he would visit the Huskies officially he answered, "probably not."

Programs will still be able to recruit Stewart until he makes a binding decision by signing a letter of intent that can be mailed in no sooner than February 2, 2005. No prospective recruit is bound by an oral commitment. Oregon also apparently had high interest in two other players participating in the game. Linebacker Rey Maualuga, 6-2, 235, Eureka (Calif.) Eureka HS, gave a verbal commitment to USC by pulling out a Trojan hat in a sequence during the game. Maualuga had taken a number of trips to Eugene and Los Angeles during the last few months in a serious attempt to make his decision. Another player, Tony Moeaki, 6-4, 235, Wheaton (Ill.) Warrenville South HS, pulled out the Hawkeye hat of Iowa along with his high school teammate Dace Richardson in another segment during the game.

Stewart did not indicate when he might make his decision. He officially visited the University of Oregon with his mother on the weekend ending January 9. It was reported that both he and his mother were very pleased with the visit of the University, Athletic Department and the Autzen Stadium complex and facilities. Stewart, no stranger to the Autzen complex as he has attended a number of camps at Oregon. The visit apparently was his mother's first trip to the Eugene campus.

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