Out of your league

Stewart commits to Oklahoma State, earns D1 scholarship

Malcolm Berkley, Lead Writer

Since 2005, no student-athlete from Salina had committed to a Division 1 school on a full football scholarship. On June 18, 2019, that all changed. 

“[I’m] Super grateful to be able to announce that I have committed to Oklahoma State University,” wrote Senior Quinn Stewart on Twitter. “[I’m] Very thankful to be able to further my athletic and academic career there.”

Stewart will play collegiate football as a tight end for one of the top 30 NCAA Division 1 football programs in the country–this, while paying absolutely nothing of the $40,000 a year tuition.  He’ll attend school in Stillwater, Oklahoma as a student athlete under head coach Mike Gundy.

With zero Division 1 offers in March of last year, the senior’s recruiting profile dramatically shot up in the space of just a few months.  Colleges took notice of Stewart’s 6 foot 4 inch 235 pound frame and the impressive athleticism he displayed at several showcases. One day after he broke personal records at the April 14 Sharp Performance combine, he received his first FBS offer from KU.  

By the time May 15 rolled around, he had two FBS offers, had visited three schools and was a three-star recruit ranked top 6 in the state.  For Stewart, those few months were all just a blur.  

“I never really thought I’d get a Division 1 scholarship,” Stewart said.  “It was a blast getting to visit a bunch of schools, see the facilities, and meet the coaches that I’ve seen on TV.”

Towards the middle of his junior year, Stewart began training at Sharp Performance.  Prior to becoming the only Salina high school football player to receive a full scholarship since 2005, he trained at the facilities of former KU standout Jake Sharp.  As fate would have it, the Central alumnus was, in fact, the athlete in question who received a full scholarship in 2005. To Sharp’s veteran eye, Stewart’s potential was evident. 

“After one of the Central football games last year, Quinn and I had a conversation and I told him I’d make him famous,” Sharp said.  “He moves well, has a good motor, a whole lot of muscle, and great measurables.”

Three times a week, Stewart worked out at Sharp Performance under the tutelage of David Leonard, his personal trainer.  Having mentored a number of Division 1 athletes, Leonard sought to prepare him for the rigor of college football. 

“The biggest thing for our training was

Alex Morales
Stewart looks to the sideline during a game

make him more explosive and agile,” Leonard said.  “He was already big and strong enough, but at the next level everyone is big and strong, so we focused on agility and being as explosive as possible.”

All the hard work paid dividends for Stewart.  The weight of an unknown future is lifted from his shoulders allowing him to now focus on the last year of his high school career and the impending arrival of collegiate athletics.  

“For my senior season at Central, I want our football team to improve our record and make a deeper run into the playoffs,” Stewart said. “As for OSU, I want to make the most out of the opportunity and represent Salina in a positive manner.”