Tony Steward chooses Clemson

Five-star linebacker prospect Tony Steward (St. Augustine, Fla./Menendez) will head to Clemson

Steward, who made only official visits to see the Florida State Seminoles, Clemson Tigers and UCLA Bruins, actually didn't make his decision until an hour before his announcement was televised on ESPNU. He spurns the school, Florida State, that was his childhood favorite but goes with the school that gave him the most comfort.

"Leaving home will be tough because I'll be leaving family and friends," Steward said. "They make me feel like I'm at home, and Clemson will be a great place to grow."

Steward, the nation's No. 9 overall recruit, gives Clemson its third ESPNU prospect from the state of Florida joining, running back Mike Bellamy (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte) and Sammy Watkins (Fort Myers, Fla./South Fort Myers).

This ends a long, emotional recruitment for Steward, who built relationships with the staffs at Clemson and FSU that made it tough for him to say no to either school.

"The challenge for me to make a decision was making sure my family understood," Steward added. "But I feel like I make the right decision, and they will always support me."