WEST ORANGE, N.J. – The recruiting game is a tricky playing field to traverse at times. Paramus Catholic senior wide receiver Donald Stewart is learning just how tricky the recruiting landscape can be.
“I’ve been told by several coaches on my coaching staff and several colleges that I need to cut my list down and probably come to a decision soon,” Stewart told Today’s U. “That’s probably even if I silent commit. I need to start cutting my list down.”
With 16 offers to his name, the 6’3.5”, 190-pound receiver has plenty of schools to choose from. Over the past year, Stewart has received offers from Michigan, Stanford, Rutgers and Boston College, among others.
Stewart took an unofficial visit to Michigan over the summer and the three-star prospect shared his thoughts regarding the Wolverines program.
“I think it’s a great program,” said Stewart. “It’s a prestigious school and they have a lot of great coaches coming in and great players coming in. With Jordan jumping on board yesterday, it’s nothing but positive things at Michigan. It’s going in the right direction. It’s going to have a really great season.”
As Stewart mentioned, Michael Jordan announced on Thursday that the Wolverines’ football program would be outfitted by Jordan gear starting in August 2016. This move caught the attention of many prospect across the country including Stewart, who says it is a good move for the school.
“That’s a big move,” said Stewart. “It definitely attracts a lot of kids. Everyone wears Jordans and everyone knows the name Jordan, so it’s definitely going to attract a lot more kids and they will have some new gear that all the other colleges won’t have. It’s definitely different and I like it a lot.”
Since August 1, senior prospects across the country have received official scholarship offers from prospective colleges. Yesterday Stewart posted on Twitter that he had received an official offer from the maize and blue.
God is good. Received my official scholarship from Michigan. Can't wait to take my official in November for the Ohio state game. #GoBlue 〽️🔵
— Donald Stewart (@Donald_Stewart8) August 15, 2015
As opposed to a verbal offer, Stewart says that a written proclamation of a full ride scholarship felt a bit different to the three-star recruit.
“I think it’s a little bit [different] because some offers are non-committable, which I have learned in taking these visits,” said Stewart. “I think an official offer makes it a little more serious that you can still commit to the school you want to go to.”
Another school that Stewart may want to go to, the Stanford Cardinal has remained a prominent program throughout his recruitment. Stewart touched on why Stanford could be a desirable destination for traditional student athletes.
“I think they’re a great school as well,” said Stewart. “Great academic school just like Michigan and just like several schools like Northwestern and Vanderbilt. They’re all great academic schools. I’ve been in contact with my recruiting coordinator, coach [Peter] Hansen since my sophomore year. I’ve talked to the offensive coordinator, coach [Matt] Doyle and the receiver coach [Tavita] Pritchard. I’ve talked to the head coach [David Shaw] a few times. It’s a really great school with a nice campus. I think it would be a great fit for any true student athlete.”
Concerning Michigan and Stanford specifically, several pundits have asserted that the two programs may be in the lead for Stewart’s services. The talented Paramus Catholic wide receiver refuted such claims and delved into what his timetable looks like as of now.
“I don’t know why people keep saying [Michigan and Stanford lead],” said Stewart. “I don’t think that’s true because I’ve never physically said my top five schools or my top schools. I guess just because I retweet Michigan on Twitter that it’s getting a lot of favorites, so I guess I’m going to Michigan now. I’m still open to a lot of schools. I don’t think those are my top schools right now, and I still want to release my top five, my top schools. I will let the coaches know first then let the reporters know second.”
When that does occur, Stewart will likely have a better idea of his official visit schedule. As of now, only two officials are locked in but more are in the works.
“I’ve set up the Michigan – Ohio State game,” said Stewart. “I’ve also set up the Stanford big official which is in January. I’ve also been working on trying to go to Syracuse, Rutgers, Boston College and Wake Forest. Those are still up in the air right now, but I’m still communicating with the coaches because it’s just been a problem with my schedule. That’s why I haven’t been able to set the official dates for those schools yet.”
In terms of his commitment date, Stewart is planning on continuing the recruiting process before announcing his collegiate intentions.
“I haven’t really figured out a timetable,” said Stewart. “I’m just enjoying the process right now, meeting a lot of coaches, meeting a lot of big time players and just seeing as many schools as I can and enjoying the process. I think when I feel it’s the right time and my heart’s really in it that I will commit.”
This fall, Stewart has set a goal to haul in 20 touchdowns this season. Stay tuned as Stewart plans to put up big numbers for Paramus this fall.