RECRUITING WIRE - Jonathan Stewart 10/29

THE NO. 1 RUNNING BACK in the nation is coming to Washington State this weekend on an official visit. Cougfan.com spoke to <b>Jonathan Stewart</b> on how his season is progressing, what he's working on to become a better player and his upcoming visit to Pullman.

It garnered a lot of attention last Friday. The No. 1 running back prospect in the nation was held under 100 yards rushing for the first time since an injury sidelined him in a game back in 2002. What didn't get as much play was this:

Timberline won that game against River Ridge 49-0.

Jonathan Stewart rushed for 94 yards on 18 carries against a defense whose sole purpose was to stop "Snoop" from chalking up yet another monster game. Stewart said he could care less about not breaking the century mark, the important thing is to get the win.

"I really don't have individual goals," Stewart told Cougfan.com. "I only have team goals." To accomplish those, the all-time leading rusher in the state of Washington continually works on his craft.

"I want to work on everything," said Stewart. "Stamina, blocking, everything."

It's immediately apparent to anyone who has seen Stewart in person the 5'10" 220-pound running back is a physical specimen. So why would stamina or conditioning be a factor?

Because Stewart doesn't get all that many reps in a game.

Oftentimes, Stewart's day is done before halftime. It makes performances such as the one against Yelm, in which he eclipsed the state career rushing mark, all the more compelling. Consider that on that night, Snoop was on the bench before halftime. But in that one and half quarters, he ran for 242 yards. He spent the rest of the game watching his teammates get in their quality reps.

THE PUBLICITY and the attention Stewart has received this year has been trying at times, both on the star running back and on his teammates. There exists a perception among some that Timberline is a one-man team. On the season, Stewart has 140 rushes for 1627 yards. He has run for 21 touchdowns (23 total).

Stewart's career stats are no less impressive: 673 carries, 7081 yards, 83 TD's (86 total) To put his career in perspective, consider the 2nd best total in the state history, the mark that Snoop topped against Yelm, is 6,128 yards.

And so it makes performances like last Friday, when Timberline shut out River Ridge, a satisfying win for both the team and for Stewart. Because Timberline is most certainly not a one man team, according to Stewart.

"I think that was impressive for us," said Stewart of the 49-0 win. "As a team."

ALSO IMPRESSIVE, Stewart's rare combination of speed and power. But it's his balance that wows many observers.

"I've never seen a runner with his balance," says Chris Fetters, Northwest recruiting analyst for Scout.com. "He uses great lean and drive to make it almost impossible for linebackers to get a clean shot on him."

But abilities and natural talent will often take you only so far.

Stewart has spent countless hours in the weight room since his freshman year, fine tuning his physique until it is the well tuned instrument of today. And with every carry, his list of accolades, awards and accomplishments continues to grow.

Stewart was named a U.S. Army All-American on October 15. More than 400 players across the country are nominated for the US Army game, which will be held Jan. 15 in San Antonio. After a rigorous selection process, only 78 players will represent the East and West teams.

Washington State goes after good, hard nosed football players who want to bleed Crimson and Gray. They also go after the leaders -- The class of 2004 included 20 student athletes who were team captains their last year in high school. Jonathan Stewart? He is a team captain.

Stewart had the opportunity to meet a number of other team captains when he camped at Washington State this past June. He also forged strong bonds with players and Cougar commits such as Shelton Danzy, Arkelon Hall and Brandon Gibson. Stewart said they cheered one another on throughout the camp, something you don't necessarily see at camps where competition between high school athletes is intense. Since then, they've kept in close contact with one another.

"That was pretty good," said Stewart of the summer camp in Pullman. "That was my first time meeting a lot of those guys. Shelton Danzy, he's a very funny guy."

STEWART'S PLANS are yet to be finalized beyond his visit to Washington State. If he feels the right situation comes along, if it feels right at a particular school, then does he see himself possibly pulling the trigger early?

"Yes," said Stewart, going on to say he's going to put the decision in God's hands.


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