Meaning behind a person's word

Stay on top of Big Orange football recruiting by subscribing to Sign in to read about this junior offensive lineman from the Volunteer State.

Some commitments never stop looking around and paying full attention to scholarship-offering schools. Others believe their word binds them to a school and essentially shut down with the recruiting process once a declaration is made.

Zach Stewart verbally committed to Tennessee back on April 18 as the first member on the pledge sheet for the Class of 2015 — and he's not looking around.

"It's where I've wanted to be since I was in fourth grade and decided I wanted to play college ball," Stewart told InsideTennessee. "A commitment to me is like giving your word to a best friend — you're not going to break the word. No, I'm not going to be rude to any other schools that call because that's just not who I am. But the commitment to me is like giving your word to this coaching staff and other commits that says you're going to be there for them in two years and be their teammate and I don't see that changing."

Stewart says he's getting numerous letters from other colleges and been contacted by other programs but calls his commitment to Tennessee "very firm."

One of the major reasons the 6-foot-4, 296-pounder fell in love with the Big Orange is offensive line coach Don Mahoney.

"Coach Mo's awesome; I like the way he coaches," Stewart said. "He's just a real good guy. I enjoy speaking to him. I enjoy watching him coach because that's the way I want to be coached. He's a great teacher but he's also a motivator. He's a real good coach and a big part of the reason why I love it over here so much."

The Coalfield (Tenn.) High School offensive lineman was in attendance to see the Volunteers drub Western Kentucky 52-20.

"It was unreal," Stewart said. "The fans were going nuts the whole time. The players were into it and juiced. It was a great atmosphere."

It was the long-time Vols fan's first game as an official visitor and as a commitment after missing the Austin Peay game due to a church convention.

"Everybody wants to speak to you whether it be other commits, recruits, hostesses," Stewart. "It's real good to be around everybody. It's a real family atmosphere down here."

After only having small children ask for his autograph following Friday night games, Stewart's signature has grown in demand with his owning the cover of the Knoxville News-Sentinel's preseason high school tabloid alongside fellow future Vols Todd Kelly Jr. and Jaylond Woods.

"It's crazy how it's changed. It's a real nice feeling. It's humbling."

After blowing out Sunbright 51-7 in Week 2, Stewart and his Coalfield team fell last week to Greenback 31-7. They take their 2-2 record to Oliver Springs this week.

Stewart is playing both sides of the football for Coalfield, holding down right tackle and defensive end.

"There's always room for improvement, but I believe I've shut everything down like I've needed to like no defensive ends or anything getting off on me. But there's always room for improvement, and I do need to up my game in any way that I can."

The local product plans to see the remaining games for the 2013 season at Neyland Stadium but has the South Carolina game (Oct. 19) circled.

"I'd like to see the matchup with our offensive line and their defensive line. That's definitely one I want to make, Georgia too. Any of the SEC games for sure I want to be at."

Danny Parker is currently the Managing Editor, Recruiting Analyst and Staff Photographer for He was previously the sports editor at Shelbyville Times-Gazette. He joined the FOX Sports NEXT team July 2011.
Twitter | Facebook | E-Mail

Inside Tennessee Top Stories