“We're trying to get him the ball in space,” offensive coordinator Todd Monken said, “because he's one of the guys that we have that can make someone miss. So we're trying to be creative on where we can move him around.”
But it's been a growing process for Stewart to become such a weapon with the ball in his hands.
At Guyer High School in Denton, Texas, Stewart was an all-around athlete who never came off the field. He was once committed to play cornerback at Texas A&M and also excelled as a returner.
Once he arrived at OSU, Stewart showed a natural ability at receiver and became the Cowboys' most impactful true freshman in 2011.
But he admits he was often nervous before games and plays, and relied on the guidance of the upperclassmen like Cooper, Justin Blackmon and Tracy Moore.
The best example? Against Texas Tech, Cooper clued Stewart in on the coverages the Red Raiders were running. Later that game, Stewart got behind the defense for a 66-yard touchdown, his first receiving score as a Cowboy.
Monken doesn't consider Stewart the most hardcore football junkie. But Stewart said he's been much more productive in the film room this season. Not necessarily because he's spending more time there, but because he's able to pick more up during those sessions.
Now, Stewart said, he can study the details of coverages and certain players' tendencies that he can exploit, rather than needing to focus on how he needs to run his route.
“I'm so much smarter than I was,” Stewart said.
Stewart, of course, has spent the majority of the season catching passes from his best friend, J.W. Walsh. But with Walsh out for the season with a knee injury, and Lunt back from his own knee/ankle injury that kept him sidelined for the better part of four games, Stewart still has chemistry with his quarterback. He had six catches for 120 yards against TCU and was Lunt's most frequent target.
When — or if — Tracy Moore returns is still up in the air. But Stewart is fine having the ball thrown his way whenever it needs to be.
“It feels good, but I'm not one of those guys that's real selfish,” Stewart said. “Even if I don't get the ball, I'm looking for a block or some kind of big play to make to help the other guys out.”