RTI recruiting contributor Landon Steffy contributed to this article
Tennessee’s coaching staff has flocked to a familiar junior college school to try and find a hidden gem in the 2020 class.
Per his Twitter account, the Vols have offered enormous JUCO offensive lineman Tairiq Stewart from Warrensville Heights, Ohio. Stewart plays for ASA College in New York right now, and he measures in at a massive 6-foot-6, 335 pounds.
— Tairiq Stewart (@BigRiqq) April 26, 2019
While he currently has no ranking on recruiting sites, it looks like Tennessee may have found a absolute diamond in the rough. The Vols are the very first school to extend an FBS offer to the massive offensive lineman. More schools will likely follow suit in the coming months as Stewart could become one of the top JUCO recruits for the 2020 cycle.
Tennessee’s Director of Programming for football, Joe Osovet, used to coach at ASA College and has been the Vols’ key recruiter for JUCO prospects. He didn’t coach Stewart, but Osovet still has plenty of ties to his old school.
It’s easy to see why Tennessee has jumped on him early once you look at his film. Stewart easily hands out pancake blocks on the regular, often brutally taking his man to the ground. He often ragdolls his man to the ground and makes blocking look easy. One highlight stands out in particular. Stewart lines up at tackle on a run play, and when the ball is snapped he takes out the defensive end and the defensive tackle both, steamrolling both players simultaneously. You often hear the term “road grader” when it comes to offensive lineman in recruiting, and that fits Stewart perfectly. He plays with a absolute mean streak. He may project better as a guard than tackle in college, but he definitely has the skills there to produce.
In high school, Stewart played for Warrensville Heights in Ohio, but he’s started coming into his own in the junior college ranks. It’ll be interesting to see what other schools come calling for the huge offensive lineman now that UT has offered.
The Vols don’t currently have any offensive linemen committed to them in their 2020 recruiting class, but they’re in on several highly-rated prospects along the line. Tennessee hasn’t offered many JUCO recruits on the O-line, but Stewart could be a big focus for UT if that’s the avenue they decide to go down.