Commentary

Then & Now: McElroy, Stewart, Suh

Updated: December 9, 2009, 11:15 AM ET
By Brian Stumpf | ESPN RISE

Each week, ESPNRISE.com's Then & Now features three top performers from the past weekend's college and NFL games and takes a look back at their high school careers.

Alabama Crimson Tide
QB Greg McElroy

Then: In 2004, McElroy passed for only 208 yards and two touchdowns as a junior at powerhouse Southlake (Carroll, Texas), but had scholarship offers from around the country despite his lack of experience. McElroy exploded once he finally hit the field as a senior, passing for 4,687 yards and 56 TDs while leading Carroll to a 16-0 season and 5A state title while earning EA SPORTS All-American honors. McElroy received an offer from Alabama after the season and opted to de-commit from Texas Tech and sign with the Tide.

Now: After biding his time at Alabama, McElroy has quarterbacked the Tide to a berth in the BCS title game in Pasadena with a 32-13 victory over previous No. 1 Florida. McElroy hit on 12 of 18 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown in the SEC Championship. He's passed for 2,450 yards and 17 TDs with just four interceptions so far this fall.

Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart

Then: Stewart emerged out of Timberline High (Lacey, Wash.), rushing for over 1,000 yards in all four years and finishing his illustrious career as the state's all-time leader in rushing yards (7,755) and touchdowns (95). The 5-11, 225 pounder was more than a stat standout, he showed huge potential at the collegiate level after earning consecutive MVP awards at the Oregon Nike Camps prior to his junior and senior seasons.

[+] EnlargeJonathan StewartJonathan Stewart
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comJonathan Stewart made a name for himself after winning consecutive MVP awards at the Oregon Nike Camp.

As a senior, Stewart rushed for 2,301 yards and 32 TDs, earning Gatorade State Player of the Year and EA SPORTS All-American honors. In his Oregon career, Stewart amassed 2,891 rushing yards and scored 27 touchdowns.

Now: Stewart, now in his second year in the NFL, stepped in for the injured DeAngelo Williams, carrying 26 times for 120 yards and a TD in Carolina's win over Tampa Bay.

Nebraska Cornhuskers
DT Ndamukong Suh

Then: Suh starred at the Stanford and Texas A&M Nike Camps and became a nationally-rated defensive tackle in the Class of 2005. Suh was named the Oregon Class 4A State Defensive Player of the Year as a senior in 2004.

Now: Suh has emerged as a dominant defensive force. This week, he registered 4.5 sacks in the Big 12 title game and was named as a Heisman Trophy finalist. So far this season, Suh has 82 tackles, 12 sacks and 22 tackles for loss.

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