Josh Stewart remembers walking out onto the field at the Lousiana Superdome in New Orleans and looking up at the stands and the lights in one of the world’s most famous sporting venues back when he was playing little league football.
The former Guyer standout decided then, when he was a star for the Keniworth Knights, that he wanted to play in the NFL someday.
Stewart’s life and football career have taken several turns since, including a move to Texas, a standout career with the Wildcats and three seasons at Oklahoma State. Each led to this week, when Stewart hopes to finally reach the goal he set so long ago in the NFL draft, which will begin today and stretch seven rounds over the course of three days.
Stewart declared for the draft after his junior season at OSU and could be selected in the later rounds.
“I am too excited,” Stewart said. “It’s a blessing. This is something I dreamed about since I was 5.”
Stewart caught 180 passes for 2,204 yards and 12 touchdowns in three seasons at OSU. He earned first-team All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore when he finished with 1,210 receiving yards.
Stewart was a second-team All-Big 12 pick as a junior both as a receiver and return man, despite missing two full games because of injury.
Stewart could have returned to OSU for his senior season but said on the eve of the draft that he is happy with his decision to leave school a year early.
“I have talked to almost 20 teams in the last five days,” Stewart said. “They are all confirming information and checking up on me. They are not going to call unless they are considering you.”
Even if Stewart is not selected in the draft, he almost certainly will be signed as a free agent. Either way, Stewart will have an opportunity to make a team.
The opportunity could be all Stewart needs.
“Josh’s draft status is pretty uncertain, but he will get into a camp,” Guyer coach John Walsh said. “I like his chances once he gets on the field. When he got to our place, he was dominant from his sophomore year on. He was out there making big plays and was one of the best receivers in the Big 12. He has good work ethic and has made a lot of plays in his career.”
Stewart has been preparing to make a few more, this time in the NFL.
“I have been working out and getting ready,” Stewart said. “I want to be in good shape going in and live the blessing that God has given me.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.