The J.L. Mann Patriots made the jump from AAA to AAAA this past season. While the team didn't set the world on fire during their first season playing with the big boys of AAAA they have a solid foundation returning and are expecting to make more noise next season. Part of the nucleus returning next season is 2012 OT JaVontey Stewart. The mammoth 6'4 1/2 300 pound prospect has already heard from a number of schools and we caught up with him for an update on the very latest.
Stewart sat down at length with SCPrepNation.com and broke down his thoughts about the move from AAA to AAAA first.
"This past season was our first year in AAAA, and I feel like we did pretty decent for our first year in AAAA to make it to the playoffs. But now that we have experienced it and see what its going to take for us to be really good in AAAA, we have a lot of momentum going into this off-season and we decided that we must take every aspect of our game to the next level."
"I feel like we have the strongest class of 2012 in the state, and I really feel confident about the players filling the losses of past seniors. I think that last season was okay, but our expectations are a lot higher this coming year then they were last year."
The junior standout also talked about how he fared this past season and where he believes his strengths and weaknesses are currently on the gridiron.
"I averaged 4.5 pancake blocks a game and my highest blocking grade this year was 100 percent against Westside."
"I feel that I'm very good as a run blocker and in pass protection, but I think my strengths are more in pass blocking. I just want to stay in the weight room and continue to get stronger and practice on becoming even more physical this year than I was last year."
Schools have already started to target Stewart as he's hearing from local schools as well as ACC, Big Ten, and SEC schools already.
Stewart shared his thoughts about a couple the schools he's visited for us below as well:
Vanderbilt-I enjoyed Vanderbilt a lot because of the scenery around campus and its really not that far from home, I really felt almost at home. I liked that its right down in the heart of Nashville and it seems like its always something to do there. I talk to the coaches still and I really enjoy conversating with them.
Clemson-I like Clemson a lot because of the atmosphere that surrounds you in the stadium, I feel that they have a really strong fan support and I really liked that about the school. The football program has a lot of tradition I really enjoyed conversating with their coaches also.
Does Stewart claim any favorites at the juncture in his recruitment though?
"Honestly, I'm open to everybody. All I want to really do is just find a school with the right fit for me, whether its a SEC, ACC, or Big 12 school."
Other factors that Stewart says he will weigh heavily when evaluating colleges he says are education, depth chart, early playing time, coaching staff, and whether or not he gets the right feeling that it's where he belongs.
Looking back on his junior season Stewart says one game in particular stood out to him as his best.
"My best game ever was probably this year against Southside. My uncle had come down to see me play from North Carolina, and they were my archrivals from when I played at Carolina High School before. I had never beaten them, but I just remember getting pancake after pancake and knockdown after knockdown. I just felt like a bully, and it felt good. We won 59-12."
What's on the agenda for Stewart this offseason?
"I plan on attending a few Nike and Under Armor combines. I also plan on going to some college camps too."
Stay tuned to SCPrepNation.com for more updates with JaVontey Stewart and other top prospects here in the Palmetto State so keep it locked right here!
A CLOSER LOOK...JAVONTEY STEWART
Favorite football player: Maurkice Pouncey
Favorite food: hot wings with ranch
Favorite movie: Friday
Favorite music artist: Gucci Mane
Favorite thing to do when not playing football: eat and conversate with females
Favorite subject in school: U.S. History
Something about me that most people would be surprised to know: My television barely changes from ESPN or ESPN2