August 21, 2010

ACC plays role in Stewart's commitment

Middletown (Conn.) Xavier linebacker Graham Stewart grew up following ACC football over the last few years and it was always a dream of his to play in the conference. In the end, it was one of the key factors for the 6-foot-1, 216-pounder's decision to commit to Boston College.

"I always watched games in the ACC, Florida State, Miami, a lot of those games and it was always a dream to play in that conference," said Stewart. "So when it came down to choosing between BC, Syracuse and UConn, that became a factor."

Stewart also committed to the Eagles over the Orange and Huskies for other reasons as well.

"The linebacker tradition they have there at BC was something I thought about a lot," he said. "To get to go up there and learn from players like Luke Kuechly and Kevin Pierre-Louis and look up to someone like Mark Herzlich, that's big. Coach Bill McGovern is a great coach and to be the best you have to play against the best so I wanted to be a part of that."

For Stewart, who also had offers from Iowa and Temple and interest from Florida and Miami, staying close to home was key.

"I went down to Florida for Friday Night Lights to compete and see if I was as good as those guys," he said. "That was a real confidence booster for me but it also made me want to stay closer to home. I want to be able to share my college football career with my family and not just by having them watch me on TV. I won't lie, I wanted that Florida offer because Florida is a great program and it would have proved something to me, but when I came back from that trip it became about focusing on staying closer to home."

Stewart's relationship with his recruiting coach, Mike Siravo, was also key.

"I feel really comfortable with coach Siravo," he said. "He would always e-mail me and check in and talk about things that weren't just football. I feel like I know him and his family really well."

Stewart was supposed to visit BC sometime during camp to watch the linebackers practice and perhaps commit in person. However, that never happened.

"I just started to really think about it and spent a couple of days talking it over with my family," he said. "And the more we talked the more it became about BC. I really like Syracuse and UConn, they are both great programs and places, but something about BC felt like home and comfortable. And with the ACC competition, the linebacker tradition and everything else, it became clear. I didn't need to see it again. I hope to get up there soon to watch practice and really want to see some games this year."

And what is Florida or Miami decide to offer him down the road?

"I'm an Eagle," he said. "I've made my decision, I've given the coaches my word and I am happy. BC has everything I want in a school and I'm done."

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