Not too many have ArDarius Stewart’s mental makeup.
Stewart could have easily walked around at practice sulking about the possibility of not lining up at receiver — a position he’s being recruited to play at the University of Alabama — in today’s Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic.
Instead, the Fultondale senior will be chasing down the Mississippi all-star receivers from the safety position at Cramton Bowl.
“It’s a regular thing for me,” said Stewart, a do-it-all athlete who ranks nationally among the top 50 high school prospects. “When you play football, things change. I played quarterback and free safety also in high school, so I am OK with just contributing on defense.
“It’s football. I just want to be on the field, basically.”
Even though Stewart might be slotted in at defensive back at kickoff doesn’t mean he’ll remain there for the entire game because Alabama all-star coaches realize his uncanny ability to produce positive results at numerous skilled positions.
“He’s very versatile, and in these types of games, we can put him at a lot of different positions,” said Woodrow Lowe, Alabama all-star receivers coach. “I am just glad that he’s on our side. He already has some great tools at the college level that they’ll be looking for.”
Stewart had already prepared himself mentally for the possibility of the same situation in Tuscaloosa.
“I still think they might put me somewhere else, but I am ready,” the 6-foot-1, 193-pounder said confidently. “I know I am going to have to work hard to get out there to play. … I’ve already committed, and I know what I want. Now, I just got to put in the work.”
Stewart approached the weeklong practices at Huntingdon’s Samford Stadium much like a businessman. He managed to establish new acquaintances, strengthen old ones and sneak some individual training in to help improve his route running skills.
“It’s important to build upon relationships at these types of events because you never know when you’ll see these guys again, or if they’re going to be a teammate later on down the line,” he said. “Building relationships is what you need in football, it gets you closer to a teammate.”
A four-star athlete, Stewart is one of several prized recruits who are expected to sign Feb. 6 with Nick Saban’s 2013 collection of prep standouts — joining home-grown products like O.J. Howard (Autauga Academy) and Darius Paige (Foley).
As a junior, Stewart became the first player at Fultondale to reach 1,000 yards in passing and rushing en route to being named 2A Back of the Year, among other honors. He rushed for more than 2,000 yards with 30 touchdowns and threw for close to 1,500 yards with 20 touchdowns a season ago.