Battle for Xavier's Stewart heats up

Xavier (Conn.) linebacker Graham Stewart, ESPNU's top-rated prospect in Connecticut, told correspondent Roger Brown this week that he would like to make a decision on college before the first game of the season (September 17, versus Notre Dame of West Haven).

Brown reports in his recruiting blog that it's likely a three-team race between Boston College, UConn and Syracuse, but Florida has also shown interest in the 6-foot-2, 218 pound Stewart's services (the Gators are also the alma mater of Bristol native and Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez).

"I've been to Gainesville a bunch of times and I was told they would offer," Stewart told Brown. "I really like BC, Syracuse and UConn a lot. I've been to all three and right now they're all bunched together. Even if Florida offers I wouldn't say they're the favorite. I'm sure my family would respect any decision I make, but I'd like to stay close to home."

Stewart is no doubt a household name in the Nutmeg State. But for the unfamiliar, here's what our friends at Scouts Inc. had to say about him:

Stewart is capable of applying pressure with good results in all situations. Has the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. His strong tackling skills should allow him to be a productive special team's player. Shows good flexibility, balance and agility; does a good job with K&D recognition skills; demonstrates the quickness to fill gaps with downhill acceleration; has the playing strength to take on and defeat blockers at the point of attack; can avoid blockers with quickness when moving through traffic in pursuit of the football. This prospect has very good range along with the ability to play in space; this shows up in pass coverage; is capable of putting pressure on the QB as an inside rusher or coming of coverage to apply pressure off the edge. We see a good closing burst to the quarterback, resulting in sacks and pressures; flashes the ability to crossover for depth along with good route recognition. This guy displays a good understanding of where he is on the field and reacts accordingly; His toughness and excellent motor put him in position to make big plays and create havoc in the backfield. Stewart may not be an immediate starter when he steps on campus however with his playing speed and athleticism it could be difficult keeping him off the field; early playing time as a situational defensive player and on teams is a distinct possibility.