Stewart stands out in crowded RB class

Originally Published: August 23, 2004
By Tom Lemming | Special to ESPN Insider
It is a great year for impact running backs. In fact, if this was last year, four running backs -- Rashard Mendenhall, Toney Baker, Kevin Grady, and our No. 3 prospect of this season, Jonathan Stewart -- would all rank in the second to five spots, right behind Adrian Peterson.

Stewart is a 5-foot-10, 220 pounder from Olympia Timberline, Washington. In person, at least to me, he looks and plays like Bo Jackson. What I saw on film is a back who shows uncanny balance, a great burst, tremendous strength, vision and desire. Another way he reminds me of Bo Jackson is his strength and speed allows him to run over or around defenders.

Timberline assistant coach Mark Rubadue calls Stewart the best player he's even seen or coached. I watched his game against Centralia in which he rushed for a state record 422 yards and six TDs and it was an awesome display of speed and power. He is at his best when the game is on the line and seems to get stronger the game progresses. He also shows excellent change in direction skills and has blazing speed which allows him to turn the corner with ease.