As far as field trips go, Lincoln Stewart’s visit to Full Sail University last Wednesday was pretty stellar.
The DeLand linebacker accompanied his web design class on a tour of the Winter Park school, one of the premier art, music and film schools in the world. Stewart expected to learn about the school and its design program.
It's what happened as Stewart’s class was leaving the campus that made the trip more memorable.
“[DeLand] Coach [Ryan] Smith texted me and was like ‘congrats man, you just got offered by Memphis.’ I was shocked, because I hadn’t been hearing from them,” Stewart said. “It was kind of unexpected. I wasn’t receiving any letters or anything from them. I didn’t even know they were looking at me.”
Memphis is the first school to offer Lincoln, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound linebacker who is ranked No. 46 on the Sentinel’s 2013 Central
He has been hearing from plenty of schools — that’s what happens when you total 97 tackles during your junior year — but programs have been hesitant to extend an offer to Stewart because he is a tad undersized.
“Height has always been my issue with every college I’ve been talking to,” he said. “They’re all scared of my height.”
For a while, Stewart was afraid that being a shade less than 6-feet would completely derail his recruitment. However, when Memphis talked to Smith and found out that he was a legitimate 5-11, the Tigers automatically decided to take a flier on the under-the-radar Stewart.
Stewart isn’t the first local linebacker to get overlooked because of his height and he won’t be the last.
His playing style and size are actually eerily similar to another diminutive linebacker who used to terrorize Central Florida offenses: former Sanford Seminole star
The man they call ‘Bird’ was 5-foot-10, 210-pounds in high school and just missed out on being a blue-chip recruit because of his height. Still a strong prospect, he picked
Ole Miss and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team last season.
Stewart hasn’t been quite as productive as Bryant, but he still gets compared to him ‘all the time’.
“I think it’s because of the way I fly around the field and get to the ball like he does,” Stewart said. “Also because I’m quick like him and kind of built like him.”
Getting his first college offer is a good start to being like Bird. Stewart said the Memphis offer came ‘out of nowhere’, but he is relieved nonetheless. At least he is now on the board and other schools are taking notice.
He said Boston College is close to offering and is also hearing from Iowa State, and FAU, which he will be visiting with DeLand teammate WR Dantwaun O’Neal for the school’s junior day April 14.
“Once I got that Memphis offer, it seemed that everything speeded up,” Stewart said. “I was up there a little before, but since the offer, it seems like a lot of schools are like ‘whoa, this kid got offered by Memphis, let’s take a look at him.’ ”
Brendan Sonnone is the Sentinel's recruiting correspondent and can be reached at
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