Oak Park – Phillip Stewart established himself as one of the top running backs in the state in his first year as the featured back in Oak Park’s offense last fall.
Stewart, at 5-foot-7 and 170 pounds, used his outstanding speed and great cutting ability to rush for 1,405 yards and 13 TDs, averaging 8.5 yards a carry to help Oak Park win an OAA White division championship.
Despite Stewart’s impressive senior season, he is still without an offer from a Division I or II college. Oak Park head coach Greg Carter is scratching his head on the lack of interest, feeling it must be Stewart’s size that is keeping colleges away.
Stewart showed his big-play ability with a 29-yard TD run on fourth down in the season-opening win against Utica Eisenhower, then had a highlight-reel 65-yard TD run in a win over Farmington Hills Harrison.
Stewart attended Oak Park’s basketball game Thursday night against Clarkston and talked about his situation.
“I have some DII, DIII schools showing interest, have a visit set up for Olivet next week, no offers yet, but hopefully other schools will still be looking at me,” Stewart said. “I went to Grand Valley, and Ferris State came up here. Davenport is also interested. Ferris State’s head coach came up here at the end of December – Coach (Tony) Annese talked to me and a couple of other players. He said I could come up and see the campus, no offer yet.
“If I don’t get an offer for football I’ll try to get one for track.”
Oak Park four-star junior defensive back Enzo Jennings is in a far different situation from Stewart. He already has 25 offers, including from the teams that played for the national championship, Clemson and Alabama.
“I have 25 offers – Clemson, Bama; got one from Miami yesterday,” Jennings said. “Coach (Dan) Enos (Miami offensive coordinator) came by.”
Jennings has an offer from Michigan but not from Michigan State.
“I like the players, know a lot of them,” Jennings said of the Wolverines.
“Most of the offers came last summer,” Jennings added. “I got a lot bigger. Last year I was at 165. I’m 6-2 and 185 now. I benched about 185, now I can do 225 15 times.”
Jennings said he would like to continue to improve his quickness.
“I’ve improved on my footwork, that’s an area I still want to improve on,” he said. “I want to be faster coming out of my breaks, a lot smoother.”
Jennings visited Notre Dame in November, coming away with an offer from Brian Kelly, as did his Oak Park teammate, junior receiver Maliq Carr.
Jennings plans to narrow the field to five schools prior to the season and then take his official visits.
“I have a top 11 right now – Notre Dame, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky,” said Jennings. “I love everything about (recruiting). I’m having fun with it.”