Jonathan Stewart has played with the Carolina Panthers for his entire eight-year career. But he has been starring in the game of football for a lot longer than that, dating back to his days in the Pacific Northwest as a Washington high school football player and college stud at the University of Oregon. He turned the heads of NFL scouts and is making his mark on arguably the best team in the NFL in 2015.
The Panthers and Stewart’s running attack, along with Carolina’s dynamic MVP-candidate quarterback Cam Newton, is one of the most feared in the NFL. But there is more to Jonathan Stewart than just his prowess running the football. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the talented running back and what makes him tick.
1. Jonathan Stewart Was Born and Raised in Washington and Attended Timberline High School
From an early age growing up in the state of Washington, Stewart was a precocious running back and fearless runner. Few prospects in the Great Northwest attracted the attention that Stewart received during his playing days at Timberline High School. Stewart accumulated 7,755 yards rushing, to become Washington’s all-time rushing leader. He also scored with 95 touchdowns in a career in which he eclipsed the 1,000-yard plateau in each of his four seasons.
Stewart was placed at the top the nation’s list of running back recruits on Parade magazine’s All-American team, Student Sports Hot 100 list, as well as Prep Star’s Top 100 Dream Team, and was one of five finalists for the Walter Payton Trophy, given to the nation’s top prep player. He was also named Washington Class 3A Offensive co-Player of the Year and state Gatorade Player-of-the-Year as a senior to end his heralded high school career.
2. He Played College Football at the University of Oregon
Stewart’s college playing days were just as impressive as his high school days. He played in 36 games with the University of Oregon Ducks, making 25 starts. He ranks second in school history with 2,891 rushing yards on 516 attempts and scored 27 rushing touchdowns. He also had 14 career 100-yard rushing outings, including two 200-yard efforts. Stewart also set a school record with a career kickoff return average of 28.69 yards on 58 returns for 1,664 yards and two touchdowns. He tallied 49 receptions for 334 yards and four touchdowns, and is third in school history with 4,889 all-purpose yards
In his junior season, the Ducks finished 9-4 and defeated South Florida in the Sun Bowl, 56-21. Stewart’s 13 combined rushing and receiving touchdowns in 2007 led the team. He entered the NFL following that game, which concluded his junior season.
3. He Was Drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2008
Coming out of Oregon, Stewart wasn’t the most heralded receiver in the nation. As a matter of fact, he slipped under the radar just a bit. However, some from the 2008 NFL Combine took notice. Below is a quote from his Combine overview:
While other running backs received considerable national attention, tucked away in Eugene, Oregon, was an athlete many feel was the most complete running back in college football in 2007 — Jonathan Stewart.
He has the size of a fullback, the strength of an offensive lineman and the quickness of a sprinter. Playing with a style that reminds pro scouts of Kansas City’s Larry Johnson, Stewart proved, even through injuries, perfectly capable of handling the rushing load.
The Panthers took heed to the scouting report and drafted Stewart with the 13th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Since then, Stewart has been a durable running back for Carolina, playing in at least 13 games a season in six of his eight years with them. In 2009, he was named Week 15 Offensive Player of the Week, and just this past season he averaged 76.1 yards a contest, good for fourth overall in the NFL among running backs.
4. He Was Instrumental in Carolina’s Divisional Round Win Over Seattle, Scoring 2 Touchdowns
Jonathan Stewart has been crucial to the success of Carolina’s lethal running game attack in 2015. Stewart led the Panthers in rushing over the course of the year, gaining 989 yards on the ground on 242 carries, good for an average of 4.1 yards per carry. That trend continued against the Seahawks in the Divisional round of the playoffs, in which Stewart was good for 106 yards on 19 carries, including two touchdowns, before turning his ankle in the Panthers’ 31-24 win.
Stewart even sprinted out for a 59-yard run on the game’s opening play:
It was the first playoff game in Panthers history in which a player recorded multiple rushing touchdowns in the same game. Stewart will be playing, despite his minor ankle injury sustained, and will be a major factor against the stout Cardinals’ defense in the NFC title game.
5. Stewart Is a Music Lover and Frequently Makes Music Videos With His Panthers Teammates
Jonathan Stewart is a music lover. He loves music so much that he’ll often organize his Panthers teammates to make locker room music videos. One of his most recent efforts including a Panthers music video of Jason Derulo’s “Get Ugly”:
Then, not to be outdone, his teammate wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin put together a video featuring himself, trainer Jean-Baptiste Laporte, wide receiver Stephen Hill along with Jonathan Stewart doing their version of Plies’ “Ran Off On Da Plug Twice.” Below is the Panthers’ rendition:
Not to mention the team’s penchant for dabbing. The team is clearly keeping it loose as the Panthers eye their first Super bowl title in franchise history.