Death Valley replica - on sale, 10% off!
Patient Steward ready to finally make his mark at Clemson


  by - Senior Writer - Monday, March 11, 2013 7:16 PM
    |

CLEMSON – Clemson fans have waited for what seems like two long years for a healthy Tony StewardTony Steward
So. Linebacker
#7 6-1, 235
Hastings, FL

View Full Profile
to be out on the field at linebacker during crunch times, a wait that Steward himself said has taught him patience.

Steward suffered a torn ACL during his senior season of high school, and when he arrived at Clemson, he was still not 100 percent. He was also up to 250 pounds. During a practice midway through his freshman season – just as Steward was finally beginning to shed the excess weight and feel healthy again – he tore the ACL in his other knee.

During 2012, he played limited snaps on defense and instead watched starter Tig Willard at the WILL linebacker spot, played on special teams, and used that newfound patience to bide his time.

Now, the Florida native is healthy, weighs a solid 235 pounds, and is in contention for the starting WILL spot.

“When I got to Clemson I was at about 250, just because of the first ACL and not being able to move around too much,” Steward said after Monday’s spring practice. “When Coach [Brent] Venables got here, he asked me to get down to about 230. Now I feel good. I am at 100 percent, and I have no problems. I just have to go out and continue to play.”

Steward was a 5-star prospect coming out of high school, and Clemson fans have clamored for No. 7 to be on the field. This season, he hopes that his wish and the wishes of the fans come true.

He then said that his famous burst – what former defensive coordinator Kevin SteeleKevin Steele
Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
View Full Profile
called jets – is back.

“This is really the first time since I’ve been here that I feel 100 percent,” he said. “I think it [the burst] is back. I just have to continue to improve, be more aggressive and just release it. Just let it go.”

Steward said he learned a lot from watching Willard last season.

“I feel like I got my feet wet in the system last season,” he said. “Now I have a foundation in the system and I just have to keep plugging along. The knees are good and I haven’t had any trouble with them. From Tig, I learned that you just have to play with your eyes. It really isn’t anything different than I’ve played before. I kind of played it in high school, but this is different from high school, and you have to play with more discipline.”

Steward said he also looks across the room during linebacker meetings, and he sees Spencer ShueySpencer Shuey
RS Jr. Linebacker
#33 6-3, 230
Charlotte, NC

View Full Profile
, Stephone AnthonyStephone Anthony
So. Linebacker
#12 6-3, 235
Polkton, NC

View Full Profile
, Kellen JonesKellen Jones
So. Linebacker
#52 6-1, 215
Houston, TX

View Full Profile
, Justin ParkerJustin Parker
Jr. Linebacker
#8 6-1, 235
Port Royal, SC

View Full Profile
, B.J. GoodsonB.J. Goodson
RS So. Linebacker
#44 6-1, 240
Timmonsville, SC

View Full Profile
, T.J. BurrellT.J. Burrell
Fr. Linebacker
#41 5-11, 215
Goose Creek, SC

View Full Profile
and Quandon ChristianQuandon Christian
RS Jr. Linebacker
#34 6-2, 225
Lake View, SC

View Full Profile
, and gets excited about the possibilities for the season.

“We look at that every day. We are pretty excited about our group,” he said. “We just have to see what happens.”

In the meantime, he continues to learn, and be patient as he works his way into a starting role.

“For this season, I Just set goals for myself,” he said. “I want to learn the defense, learn to play hard and play physical, and just continue to do what I have to do.”
.

Rate this Story:
8 votes
Send Feedback to David Hood: Email | Comment
    |
  •  
    Anthony on SC game: "I think we are going to get it done" - 4 days ago
    Clemson's seniors told the media that their full attention has already turned to next week's rivalry game against South Carolina, and linebacker Stephone Anthony said he thinks the Tigers will be ready for the challenge. Photo by Joshua S. Kelly / USATODAY Full Story »
  •  
    Swinney says Stoudt "brings everything to the offense that we need to win" - 1 week ago
    Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney talked to media Sunday evening on his weekly teleconference, and he reiterated what he and offensive coordinator Chad Morris said in the aftermath of Clemson’s loss to Georgia Tech Saturday – no starter for next week’s game against Georgia St. has been named or will be named, but he thinks that senior Cole Stoudt still has everything it takes to lead the Tigers to victory. Full Story »
  •  
    What happened to Clemson's depth? It's all in the numbers - 1 week ago
    Clemson's depth has been sorely tested this season, and a look inside the numbers shows that the Tigers have suffered attrition at an alarming rate over the last four seasons. Full Story »
  •  
    Tigers Wrecked at Georgia Tech - 2 weeks ago
    An injury to Deshaun Watson began a painful day for Clemson as Georgia Tech returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a 28-6 win over the Tigers at Bobby Dodd Saturday afternoon. Full Story »
  •  
    Assignment Football - 2 weeks ago
    Clemson's defense has the challenge this week of playing against Georgia Tech's option offense, and that means playing assignment football. Full Story »

Subscribe to our RSS Feed
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Facebook
Sign Up for News Alerts
Features
Updates
Daily Digest