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Stewart’s Stock is on the Rise

By Matt Osborne
SouthernPigskin.com
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Things may have gotten off to a relatively slow start in Brad Stewart’s recruitment, but it is speeding up in a hurry.

“Brad is a unique young man that can do so many things at a very high level.”
~Benedictine head coach Danny Britt

The 2013 season was a particularly successful campaign for the Benedictine Cadets of Savannah, Georgia, as the football team escaped the regular season unscathed and untested before losing a heartbreaker to Lamar County in the semifinals of the state playoffs.

One of the most instrumental players in producing the school’s best football team in three decades was class of 2015 athlete Brad Stewart, who highlighted as wide receiver, defensive back and return specialist for the Cadets.

For residents of Georgia’s coastal region, Stewart’s displays of athletic prowess on the gridiron this past fall certainly didn’t come as a tremendous surprise.

Stewart’s family has a rich history of producing elite athletes, dating all the way back to his grandfather, Jim Walsh, who served as the head coach at Benedictine Military Academy after a standout career at Auburn. His uncle, Jim Walsh, Jr., also served as a high school head coach in the Savannah area following a four-year career at South Carolina.

With his exceptional genetic make-up, Stewart quickly became arguably the most dynamic player on a Benedictine team which won every regular season game in blowout fashion.

Perhaps the only negative of playing for such a powerhouse team was the fact that he was frequently removed from the game with a substantial amount of time remaining on the clock. He also starred at wide out in an offense which was predicated on running the football, although it did enable him to take advantage of frequent one-on-one matchups.

By the end of his junior season, Stewart was widely regarded by the regional media as one of the top prospects in South Georgia. That recognition, however, had not yet led to multiple scholarship offers being directed his way by college programs.

Stewart played well enough in 2013 to earn an invitation to the inaugural Elite Junior Classic in the Peach State. The game would pit the top junior prospects in the state against one another in a showcase game to be played in Powder Springs.

At the game, which was held in late-December, Stewart stood out thanks to an acrobatic 42-yard touchdown grab on a ball thrown into double-coverage.

But that was not the only reason that scouts left Powder Springs impressed with Benedictine’s athletic specimen.

Stewart dominated the competition during the entire week of practice leading up to the actual game. Playing against many athletes who had already acquired a multitude of offers, Stewart stood out as one of the event’s premier performers.

“It was great,” Stewart said of the experience. “I really wanted to play in that game, because the players that I played with are the best players in the state of Georgia. I felt like I did extremely well, and it made me think positively about my future.”

Kipp Adams, a national recruiting analyst for 247 Sports, agreed with Stewart’s assessment, singling him out on social media, tweeting: “Benedictine 2015 WR Brad Stewart might be best kept secret in [Georgia].”

The newfound recognition naturally, once again, came as little surprise to people familiar with Stewart and his talents. It was particularly unsurprising for the people closest to Benedictine who recognized that Stewart was not only a great football player, but a tremendous overall athlete, student and citizen.

“Brad is a unique young man that can do so many things at a very high level,” Benedictine head coach Danny Britt commented of his star player. “Brad is a very talented three-sport athlete that is just as talented and driven in the classroom.”

While circumstances outside of his control may have limited his recruitment up to this point, Stewart is doing everything within his power to make sure that college coaches see his skills and abilities.

Even with a hectic schedule created by the fact that he plays three sports at Benedictine, Stewart plans on making as many football camps and combines as his schedule will allow over the next few months. The goal, obviously, is to impress the college coaches and evaluators in attendance in order to pick up scholarship offers.

Interestingly enough, it was just such a standout performance at a camp last summer which led to his first FBS offer.

“It was funny, because I was at the Georgia Camp this summer when the Marshall coach was there, and he saw me at the camp and offered me right there,” Stewart said. “He said he liked the way that I played and that he really liked my potential.”

As he is able to showcase his athleticism against the regional elite at various camps prior to the start of his senior season, Stewart can certainly expect more offers to begin flooding his way.

A physical target at six-foot-one, 185 pounds, Stewart has excelled as a vertical threat at the high school level. He uses his frame to shield off smaller defenders, while also possessing the elite jumping ability to go over-the-top to make circus catches with startling regularity. It also doesn’t hurt that he has some of the best hands in the country, snagging everything which is tossed into his general vicinity.

Still sitting with just one offer during the heart of the offseason, Stewart has not had a dearth of schools keeping in contact with him. He hears regularly from Georgia, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, while still maintaining a line of communication with the coaching staff at Marshall.

Stewart continues to take his time in figuring out which schools intrigue him the most, but he has started to devise a list of the biggest factors which will ultimately help him make his college decision.

“I want to see how much the school is interested, how well the football program does and, most importantly, how good the education is,” Stewart remarked. “I take education very seriously. I want to go somewhere that cares about education as much as I do.”

College coaches have certainly started to take notice of one of the hidden gems of the 2015 class, and as he continues to have opportunities to display his skills in person, the buzz will undoubtedly only continue to increase.

Things may have gotten off to a relatively slow start in Brad Stewart’s recruitment, but it is speeding up in a hurry.

Matt Osborne - Matt Osborne currently serves as the director of recruiting and lead editor for Southern Pigskin. His work has been published in a number of national publications, including USA Today. Although he loves all levels of football, Matt's number one joy in his life is his relationship with Jesus Christ. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattOsborne200. For media requests, please email Matt at matt@southernpigskin.com.