The best running back we saw all last year was just a junior. Although it's still very early in the evaluation process, the top offensive player in the West region on our board heading in to the Spring will be Lacey (Wash.) Timberline's Jonathan Stewart.
Simply put, Stewart, 5-10, 215 pounds is an incredible talent and is the only underclassmen to ever be named MVP at one of the Nike Camps, which he was following the camp at Oregon last year. The athlete combines plus size, speed and strength to go along with great vision, balance and a feel for the game that you just can't coach.
Stewart has legitimate 4.4 speed in the 40 and jumped 37 inches in the vertical to go along with 23 reps on the bench at Nike last summer. On the field, he was even more impressive earning Student Sports Junior All-American honors this past season after rushing for 2,592 yards and 36 touchdowns. We had a chance to watch Cal bound Marshawn Lynch and Oregon bound Terrell Jackson multiple times last season but given a choice, we would have taken Stewart last year and feel he'll be one of the nation's top five 'backs next year.
"The more I see him, the more in awe of him I am," Timberline head coach Kevin Young said. "He's so good right now but the scary thing is he can get even better. As he continues to grow and mature more, he's going to be incredible and he already is now."
Young said his running back picked up his first two of what should be several scholarship offers recently.
"Washington and Washington State just offered and Notre Dame and Oregon have told me they're close as well," Young said. "A lot of schools are showing interest but those four appear the most serious right now. I don't think he's in any hurry to make his decision though, Jonathan just wants to see how things play out and will take it from there."