Three-star 6-foot, 188-pound defensive back Rasaan Stewart signed his National Letter of Intent to play college football for the Villanova Wildcats today, the school announced. Stewart played quarterback and safety for Perkiomen Valley High School in Collegeville, PA and reportedly held offers from Pitt, BC, UConn, Georgia Tech Rutgers, Syracuse and Temple. He is an athlete who adapted quickly when his coaches moved him from running back to quarterback early in his career. He will compete for a spot in Villanova's defensive backfield, most-likely as a safety.
He will be on the Team Pennsylvania roster for this Summer's Big 33 Football Classic, held annually in Hershey, PA.
Stewart verbally committed to the Wildcats in early-January, becoming the 13th scholarship commitment in the 2014 class. His father, who is in the military, spent three years working with the Villanova ROTC program but neither that, nor his proximity to the school were the defining factors -- it was the fact that the 'Cats had been recruiting him longer than anyone else, even Pittsburgh.
The Panthers offered Stewart a scholarship late in the process, but he couldn't pull the trigger.
The program, which starts five defensive backs in most situations was hungry for another talented potential playmaker. Stewart is easily the best-rated recruit in this class and has infinite potential to succeed on the Main Line. The 'Cats' secondary was an area that caused some struggles in Fall 2013, so improvement there was a priority.
Here are some of the more experienced DB's entering next season:
|Junior||Matt McCann||5'9"||210 lbs.|
|Senior||Joe Sarnese||5'11"||205 lbs.|
|Junior||Cameron McCurry||5'11"||200 lbs.|
|Sophomore||Jason Ceneus||5'9"||165 lbs.|
Joe Sarnese is the most notable DB set to graduate after this season, and the South Jersey safety will be leaving some big shoes behind. Stewart could be pushed into that role as a sophomore if his career starts off with a bang, if not, he should still have an impact as a rotation player in the secondary.
Stewart feels better playing on offense, but expects to compete at both safety and corner for the 'Cats. He hopes, however, that the coaches will give him a chance to return kicks or punts, or maybe run some plays out of the slot. He knows he wasn't likely to play quarterback in college.
According to Stewart, it came down to Villanova or Penn State for him, and the Wildcats seemed like a better option.
"Definitely the instability there [at PSU] and stuff like that was a factor," he said. "But Villanova was what I wanted in a school. I get along great with the players and the coaching staff."
"I feel like it was the right fit for me educationally, and that was important." via GameTimePA.com
"I just feel a special connection to the program," said Stewart. "They've been showing me a lot of love. After I went on my visit, it was an easy decision." via Philly.com