Sidney Stewart breaks down Maryland commitment, staff ties

Concordia Prep (MD) outside linebacker Sidney Stewart admitted he “kind of felt it in my heart” that Maryland would ultimately be his landing spot before he kicked off his official visits, but staying true to his plan was something he was intent on in the final stage of the process.

After trekking out to West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Indiana, Stewart followed through on his official visit to Maryland beginning June 21 where the same easy-going relationships he’s built with the staff continued alongside the other visiting local top targets. “I kind of felt it in my heart before I went on my [official visits],” he told IBG. “That’s before I realized how much went into deciding a school but then after my OVs, they were still at the top just because of relationships. They fit all my needs, I think the scheme fits me well and I think I should play at home, put on for your state.”

Taking his official visit alongside those local touted targets like Malik Washington, Jaylen Gilchrist, Messiah Delhomme and Iverson Howard also resonated with Stewart. “I definitely felt, when it comes to rankings and stars, I’m not really that highly touted but real recognized real. All the dogs know who the dogs are and they know I’m a guy. I know I’m a guy, but it just proved myself right when they brought me up in that selective group. It felt really good to be wanted.”

While the landing spot was largely decided in the final chapter of the process, how Stewart would announce came to fruition earlier in the week.

“I thought about it at the top of the week, I was like ‘let’s order a Turtle costume.’ Just something a little cool, a little funny, and came out dancing in it,” he joked.

Stewart became the first outside linebacker pledge for Maryland this cycle and assistant James Thomas played a big part in his rising interest in the hometown team. “Coach JT as a person, he’s a great person. I say it all the time but he’s funny, he’s hilarious. He’s got that southern twang, just a great guy to talk to. He cares.”

And after visiting for spring practice then diving into the film during his official visit, Stewart knows he has a chance to step into a near-seamless transition. “He takes his time. When I was up there at practice, he takes his time with the guys. Nothing like rushing through drills, actually getting better so I’m excited to work with him. The language that they use and my coach uses, it goes hand-in-hand so it won’t be that difficult.”

Stewart has also been able to build a strong rapport with assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim given both are Muslim.

“Coach Aazaar has sent me books, sent me different equipment — not football — but to further my faith. I’m very grateful he’s there because it’s a bonus. When Ramadan comes around, to have someone who understands and advocates for me, someone that can advocate for me in general, that’s huge.”

Now at 6-foot-2, 255-pounds, Stewart – who also plays lacrosse – will look to trim down to 245 ahead of enrolling next June where he looks to become the impact piece that he’s viewed to be this cycle.

“Just work. I want to come in and obviously, it’s a big step regardless, you can’t prepare totally. There’s going to be some adjusting but I want to be just as prepared physically, mentally so workouts, looking at different schemes and film with the coaches, just everything I can do possibly to make that college transition as quick and easy as possible.”

Sidney Stewart is not yet rated by On3.

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