Jonathan Stewart #28 RB
Height: 5-10 Weight: 235 Age: 26
Born: 3/21/1987 Fort Lewis , WA
Experience: 6th season
High School: Timberline HS [Lacey, WA]
Selected By: Carolina Panthers
Pick (Overall): 13 (13)
While other running backs received considerable national attention, tucked away in Eugene, Oregon, was an athlete many feel was the most complete running back in college football in 2007 -- Jonathan Stewart.
He has the size of a fullback, the strength of an offensive lineman and the quickness of a sprinter. Playing with a style that reminds pro scouts of Kansas City's Larry Johnson, Stewart proved, even through injuries, perfectly capable of handling the rushing load.
Despite starting just 25 games at Oregon, he ranks second in school history with 2,891 yards rushing. His 198 points scored is the sixth-best career total in Ducks annals and his 4,889 all-purpose yards rank third on the school's career list. His 1,722 yards on the ground in 2007 was the most ever by a running back at the university and rank ninth on the Pac-10 single-season chart. He also used his 233-pound frame as a kickoff returner, finishing second on Oregon's career charts with a 28.69-yard average and 1,664 yards gained.
Few prospects in the Northwest attracted the attention to the magnitude that Stewart received during his playing days at Timberline High School. The state of Washington's all-time rushing leader accumulated 7,755 yards on the ground with 95 touchdowns in a career in which he eclipsed the 1,000-yard barrier in each of his four prep seasons.
Stewart was placed atop the nation's list of running back recruits on Parade magazine's All-American team, Student Sports Hot 100 list as well as Prep Star's Top 100 Dream Team, and was one of five finalists for the Walter Payton Trophy (nation's top prep player). He was named Washington Class 3A Offensive co-Player of the Year and state Gatorade Player-of-the-Year as a senior.
The tailback was a member of USA Today's 2004 All-USA team, the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Best in the West first-team, the Northwest Nuggets squad by the Tacoma News Tribune and EA Sports' All-American squad. He played in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and was named the News Tribune's 2004-05 High School Male Athlete of the Year. Rivals.com rated him the best player in the state of Washington and 10th overall in the nation.
Stewart rushed for 2,301 yards and 32 scores as a senior, averaging 11.3 yards per carry, in addition to returning one of three punts 91 yards into the end zone. That year, he had single-game bests of 422 yards rushing vs. Centralia High, including nine touchdowns.
As a junior, he rushed for 2,609 yards and 36 touchdowns to garner first-team All-State accolades by the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune, as well as state Class 3A Player-of-the-Year praise by the former news organization.
During his sophomore year, Stewart gained 1,575 yards on the ground in 2002 before breaking his left ankle. He also competed in track. He placed second in the 2005 state track 100-meter championships (11.17), in addition to anchoring school's 4x100-meter relay to a state title.
Oregon won a fierce recruiting battle for Stewart's services in 2005, as he turned down scholarship offers from Southern California, Tennessee, California, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Ohio State. An ankle injury limited him to 10 games as a true freshman, serving as the "caddy" for starter Terrence Whitehead. However, the youngster made the most out of limited opportunities, as he averaged one touchdown for every eight times he touched the ball.
Stewart would earn Freshman All-Pac-10 Conference honors from The Sporting News. He scored six times on 53 carries for 188 yards (3.5-yard average), returned 12 kickoffs for 404 yards (33.7-yard average) and a pair of touchdowns and caught seven passes for 45 yards and another score.
A series of ankle injuries throughout 2006 was the main culprit preventing Stewart from cracking the 1,000-yard rushing barrier. The second-team All-Pac-10 choice was also hampered by rib cartilage damage, a chest muscle strain and a neck strain as a sophomore.
He still managed to lead the team with 981 hard-fought yards and 10 scores on 183 carries (5.4-yard average). He caught 20 passes for 144 yards (7.2 avg) and a touchdown, adding 646 yards on 23 kickoff returns (28.1 avg). Despite all of those injuries, he piled up 1,771 all-purpose yards, the fifth-best season total in school annals.
Stewart battled a turf toe injury, an ankle sprain and a hand contusion in 2007. He still put together a banner season, setting school records with 1,722 yards rushing and 2,481 all-purpose yards. His average of 132.46 yards per game on the ground, ranked seventh nationally while his average of 190.85 all-purpose yards ranked ninth, leading the conference in both categories.
He averaged 6.2 yards on 280 carries, scoring 11 times. He gained 614 yards on 23 kickoff returns (26.7-yard average) and snared 22 passes for 145 yards (6.6 avg), including a pair of touchdowns, as he also added one solo tackle vs. UCLA.
In 36 games at Oregon, Stewart started 25 contests. He carried 516 times for 2,891 yards (5.6-yard average) and 27 touchdowns, turning the ball over three times on five fumbles. He gained 334 yards with four scores on 49 receptions (6.8 avg) and recorded four solo tackles. He also returned 58 kickoffs for 1,664 yards (28.69 avg) and two touchdowns. He wrapped up his career with 4,889 all-purpose yards on 623 touches, an average of 135.81 yards per game.