They say good things come in threes, so Ian Stewart made a major decision Saturday.
Michigan State will be his college football home.
“I just felt comfortable and ready and sure right now,” Stewart said Sunday, a day after announcing his commitment via Twitter. “I just felt sure – it was my mom’s birthday and we had prom on the same day. I just felt that was a good opportunity.”
The 3-star junior wide receiver from Carlson (Gibraltar, Mich.) became the Spartans’ fourth play in their 2020 recruiting class. Stewart said he chose MSU over high interest from Ohio State, Purdue, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Those other programs might be considered up-and-coming offenses, particularly the Boilermakers with Jeff Brohm and the Buckeyes under new coach Ryan Day. The Spartans are coming off their worst year of offensive productivity in Mark Dantonio’s 12 seasons, and he shuffled his offensive coaching staff for this fall.
And that was something about MSU that both intrigued and impressed Stewart over his other options.
“One of the things I liked about Michigan State is that it was close to home. I can do great things close to home and put out for my city,” said Stewart, who is from Rockwood. “And Coach Dantonio, he’s been up there with the same staff. If you look around, people may be in different positions, but it’s the same people there. And that’s a good feeling to know that year in, year out, they can go 3-9 but then go 10-3 the very next year with the same coaches.
“What they can do with Coach Dantonio is just something special, and I have to be a part of it.”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Stewart is ranked as the No. 15 overall prospect in Michigan in the 2020 class and the No. 92 wide receiver prospect in the nation. He joins 3-star offensive lineman Dallas Fincher from East Kentwood, 3-star tight end Tommy Guarjado from Dearborn, Mich. and 4-star defensive back Darius Snow from Carrollton, Texas, as MSU’s initial group of commitments for 2020.
However, Stewart – like Cody White, Connor Heyward and La’Darius Jefferson currently for MSU, and Keith Nichol and Keshawn Martin historically – is a high school quarterback. Carlson runs a Wing-T offense, so Stewart does not throw often while also lining up at running back and receiver at times.
He compared his skillset to White, who will be a junior wideout for MSU this fall.
“Playing quarterback at high school does teach you a little bit. It was different, my first time taking command of a huddle and really just being in control of everything out there,” Stewart said. “I think I resemble Cody White, because we have the same body frame, we both played quarterback in high school. When I work out, it’s usually at receiver, trying to get better there. But when it comes to my team … this year, we’re gonna throw it a little more, so I’ll play a little more at wideout. I play running back, quarterback and receiver – I do a little bit of everything. They like to try and mix me around.”
Stewart said his primary recruiters, wide receivers coach Don Treadwell and quarterbacks coach Dave Warner, told him they think he could play quickly when he arrives at MSU. He wanted to make his commitment before what he hopes will be “a strong senior season.” He also is healing from a groin injury that he suffered during football last fall and endured the pain of through basketball and track seasons.
“That’s where I messed up, just letting this groin injury drag out,” he said. “It got to the point where I could barely walk. Now, I’m feeling almost close to 100% and they’re saying the end of May or early June, I should be ready to go.”
That could mean a limited summer camp schedule, especially considering he has made his pledge to the Spartans. However, he hopes to be healthy enough to participate in MSU’s Elite Camp on June 15 and potentially attend the Best of the Midwest Camp on June 2 at Grand Valley State.
And Stewart hopes to get to know the Spartans’ current recruits and become a pied piper to draw other top players to follow them to East Lansing in 2020.
“I think this class is shaping up to be really good,” he said. “We have potential to have one of the best classes in the country. I’m gonna talk to Dallas, Tommy and Darius and just see who we really need to get. I’m trying to make this class the best it can be.”