Old Rivals Battle for Tyler Stewart

Most people who follow and study football recruiting say it's important for a school to take at least one quarterback every year. In this case, two old rivals are battling off the field to see who will win the signature of this talented Southern California slinger.

Taking a quarterback in each recruiting class is the common wisdom among coaches and those who follow football recruiting. Regardless of the year of the QBs currently on the roster, it is usually the progression that an incoming freshman will redshirt, spend another year learning behind the current starter, then take over the reigns. However, that is often not the path followed. San Jose State's own Tate Forcier started at Michigan as a true freshmen and excelled. He will battle to lead the Spartans offense for next two seasons, after the departure of current senior starter Matt Faulkner.

That opportunity of immediate playing time may tip the balance in SJSU's favor for Tyler Stewart of Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth, Calif. Stewart has had an offer from San Jose State for some time, and Fresno State has recently jumped into the fray.

"San Jose State has been recruiting me hard from the beginning and I really like Coach Gary Bernardi, and I talk to (John DeFillippo) a lot," Stewart said. "Fresno State started coming on around the middle of my season and I just got the offer from them. I've never been to Fresno State so I want to check them out."

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Stewart said he'd visited SJSU in the summer to attend one of their camps, and that's when the Spartans coaches began to take notice.

"The day after the camp is when they offered," he said. "They were my first offer."

Three-star athlete Christian Tago of Highland High School im Palmdale, Calif., has already made his pledge to attend SJSU, and said he will be given the opportunity to compete for the quarterback spot. However, it is believed by many that he will end up on the defensive side of the ball at the next level. As such, Stewart is the only pure QB the Spartans' have offered.

Stewart said the calls are starting to ramp up.

"Last week I heard from UCLA, Colorado State, San Jose State, and Fresno State," he said. "I'm enjoying the process. It's nice when people want you."

He has one other offer, from Bowling Green in Ohio, but the Falcons already have a quarterback commit and have backed off on Stewart, he said. At one time it was thought he also had an offer from Eastern Washington, but he said that never happened.

"The calls from UCLA are more about keeping the connection open," Stewart said. "With all the uncertainty about what's going to happen there with the coaches, they're more concerned about their jobs right now."

Stewart has an official visit set up with San Jose State for the Dec. 9 weekend, provided his team isn't in the playoffs. It's possible that date could be pushed forward. He's also set up to visit Fresno State on the weekend if Jan. 20.

"I like San Jose State right now," Stewart said. "I like where their coaches are taking them right now and they offer the best chance for me to play earlier."

In comparing the types of offenses each school plays, Stewart said both SJSU and Fresno State play different styles of a pro-style offense, which he prefers.

"San Jose State runs everything out of the pistol, with the quarterback away from center in the shotgun and everyone pretty spread out," he said. "Fresno runs more of an 'I' back, more tight-end focused. San Jose State is more wide open."

Stewart said he doesn't wish to drag out the process of choosing a college. While he would like to get more offers, he said he's happy with the ones he now has and hopes to get his decision made before Signing Day, both for himself and the schools. Both of his current offers would be close enough for his mom to come see him play, he added.

Sierra Canyon is 8-0 on the season and have been whipping teams along the way. This weekend the Trailblazers look to avenge their only loss in 2010 when they lineup against Paraclete of Lancaster, Calif. Last years 14-7 loss knocked Sierra Canyon out of the Southern Section Playoffs.

Stewart will also have his first coaching visit for the big game, but not from one of the two California schools who have offered.

"Nevada's coming down to see me play," he said. "Their head coach told me I'm too slow to run their offense but they want to see me in person to see if I can run."

He reports a time of 4.78 in the 40-yard-dash.

Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You are welcome to contact Don with any questions or suggestions at publisher@insidesparta.net.

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