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#5 Rodney Stewart
Position: Tailback
Height: 5'6"
Weight: 175
Year: Sophomore
City/State: Westerville, Ohio
High School: Brookhaven
Experience: 1 Letter
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AT COLORADO: Career Notes—He finished his career with 3,598 rushing yards, good for second on CU’s all-time list, likely winding up shy of the top spot due to missing the better part of four games with knee and ankle injuries (Eric Bieniemy, his position coach as a senior, still leads with 3,940 yards).  He still set nine season or career marks his senior year: most career rushing attempts (809), most career all-purpose plays (919), most career all-purpose yards (4,828—3,598 rushing, 969 receiving, 261 returns), most career yards gained from scrimmage, both overall and minimum of at least 500 yards rushing and receiving (4,567), most career receptions by a running back (93), including the mark for a single season (45), and the most season (571) and career (969) receiving yards by a running back.  He also finished 10th in rushing touchdowns (25), 11th in total offense (3,635 yards) and tied for 18th in scoring (150 points).  He just missed out on becoming the 28th player in NCAA history to record 3,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a career, as he was approaching the mark before he went down with an ankle sprain early in the third quarter in the season finale at Utah.  He became the first player to lead the Buffaloes in rushing for four seasons, and was just the ninth to have done it for three years in a row, one of five to have done that with at least 600 yards all three seasons.  Both career passing attempts went for touchdowns (covering 37 yards, giving him a 584.5 passer rating).  He and Lamont Warren (1991-93) are the only two players to lead the team in rushing as a freshman, sophomore and junior (Warren left after the ’93 season for the NFL).  His 16 career 100-yard rushing games (season best of six in 2010) were the second most in school history (Bieniemy had 22) and were among the top six by active players in the NCAA throughout his entire senior season.  His 2,744 career yards were the second most to Rashaan Salaam (3,057) through a junior year at CU, and ranked as the most by a player entering his senior season since Salaam declared early for the NFL Draft after winning the Heisman Trophy in 1994 (Bieniemy had 2,312).  He became the first player to start a game at running back in four different seasons since Bieniemy did so from 1987-90.    

2011 (Sr.)—He played in 11 games (nine starts), missing the better part of four games including the Oregon and Arizona State contests with knee and ankles sprains.  He earned third-team All-Pac-12 honors by Phil Steele’s College Football, which also tapped him a fourth-team All-American in the all-purpose category; he was a first-team All-Colorado team member at running back and was selected by his teammates as the Zack Jordan Award winner as the team’s most valuable player.  The “fans behind the bench” voted him the annual recipient of the Buffalo Heart Award and in the postseason, he was invited to and played in the Casino Del Sol All-Star game (where he rushed 13 times for 30 yard and touchdown, with four receptions for 25 yards and a 23-yard kickoff return).  He became the first player in CU history to lead the team in rushing (854 yards) and receptions (45), while finishing second with 571 receiving yards.  Early in the season, he became just the 12th player in school history to record at least 500 yards both rushing and receiving for a career, and in 2011, was the first player at Colorado who accomplished that feat in a single season (he was the first player in the NCAA to accumulate at least 500 of each in 2011; only three other players did so for the entire year).  His best game of the season earned him an “ESPN Helmet Sticker” and NFF/Colorado Chapter Player-of-the-Week honors: in CU’s 48-29 win over Arizona, he rushed 24 times for 181 yards and three touchdowns, caught two passes for 23 yards, threw a 14-yard touchdown pass (to quarterback Tyler Hansen) and overall had 204 all-purpose yards and 10 first downs earned.  His other 100-yard game on the year came against Washington State (26-132, 1 TD), and he twice flirted with 100-yard receiving games (4-98 at Hawaii, 7-93 versus Colorado State); his long reception covered 76 yards at Stanford which set up CU’s only score.  He was second on the team in first downs earned with 68 (44 rushing, 23 receiving, 1 passing), and led the team with 46 plays of 10 yards or longer (24 rushing, 22 receiving) including a team-best three of 50 yards or more.  At midseason, he was placed on special teams because of his speed and he had three tackles on the punt coverage unit.  He was one of 66 players on the official watch list for the Maxwell Award (nation’s most outstanding player), and was also once again on the official watch list that featured 51 players for the Doak Walker Award (nation’s top running back), and after being prolific early in the season at catching the ball out of the backfield, he was added to the official watch list for the Biletnikoff Award (nation’s top receiver; he was among 17 running backs on the 95-man list).  He was a preseason second-team All-Pac 12 selection by Athlon Sports, Lindy’s College Football and Phil Steele’s College Football (which ranked him the No. 35 running back in the nation)He was one of 10 players nationally selected by the Touchdown Club of Columbus as a “Player to Watch” for the 2011 season; he was honored in Ohio for the award on Feb. 5.

2010 (Jr.)—He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors from the Associated Press, the Fort Worth-Star Telegram, the Kansas City Star and Phil Steele’s College Football (but was inexplicably snubbed by the league coaches, most of whom he ran all over); Sports Illustrated named him to its honorable mention All-America team.  The state’s chapter of the NFF/College Hall of Fame named him first-team All-Colorado, and he was one of 49 players on the official watch list for the Doak Walker Award.  He shared the team’s Regiment Award with DT Will Pericak, the honor going to the player(s) who made the greatest contribution with the least recognition.  He played in all 12 games (nine starts), and with 1,318 rushing yards, he recorded 14th 1,000-yard season in CU history (done by 13 different players; Eric Bieniemy is the lone player to do it twice), the first to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since Bobby Purify raced for 1,017 yards in 2004 (note: Hugh Charles surpassed 1,000 in 2007 counting the bowl game, but Colorado does not include bowl stats in season totals).  The 1,318 yards in 2010 were the fifth highest single season total in CU history.  The coaches leaving him completely off their all-league team was even more perplexing (but likely due to CU’s departing the conference for the Pac-12) as his 916 yards in eight Big 12 games were the second most in league play, and just one yard behind leader Kendall Hunter (OSU).   His 109.8 yards per game ranked third in the league and 12th in the NCAA.  He had 290 carries on the season, 240 of which gained yards (29 for no gain and 21 for losses); he actually had more yards lost (12, on four minus runs) against Texas Tech then he had in the first six games (11 lost on nine stops behind the line).  The 290 carries were the second most in a CU single-season (Rashaan Salaam had 298 in 1994), with his 36 carries versus Iowa State the fifth-most in a single game by a Buffalo (and the most in 12 seasons).   His 70 carries in back-to-back games against ISU and Kansas State made him the third player to accomplish that two-game workload, joining Byron White (71 in 1937) and Tony Reed (71 in 1976, on the same dates, Nov. 13 and 20).  He caught at least two passes in 11 games (was shutout at Cal), hauling in 29 for 290 yards on the year; he had a career-best six catches (for 34 yards) at Missouri.  He had 1,608 all-purpose yards (134.0 per game), which ranked him seventh in the Big 12 and 31st nationally.  He had a monster game in CU’s 44-36 win over Kansas State: he earned Player of the Week honors from the Big 12 (offensive), Rivals.com (Big 12 player), the Colorado Chapter NFF, The Sporting News (offensive game ball), ESPN (helmet sticker) and CU (male athlete) for 195 yards and two touchdowns rushing, two receptions for 49 yards, 1-of-1 passing for 23 yards and 11 total first downs earned.  He had 19 carries for 149 yards against Georgia, and was never thrown for a loss, the 43rd game in CU history where a player rushed for 140 or more yards without being tackled once behind the line of scrimmage (it tied for 34th on the list).  He also scored once, caught three passes for 31 yards and earned eight first downs, garnering CU’s AOW honors for his efforts.  Overall, his six 100-yard games tied him for the sixth-most in a single-season at Colorado and were the third most in the Big 12, as in addition to the KSU and UGA games, he also rambled over 100 against Hawai’i (22-106, 2 TD), Baylor (30-125, 2), Kansas (27-175, 3) and Iowa State (36-123, 0).  Only the school’s all-time leading rusher, Eric Bieniemy, had more yards than Stewart heading into their junior season at Colorado; Bieniemy had 1,751 yards after two seasons while Stewart had 1,426. 

2009 (Soph.)—An honorable mention All-Big 12 Conference selection by the league coaches, he also earned first-team All-Colorado honors from the state’s chapter of the National Football Foundation.  He saw action in 11 games, making three starts, as he missed the Toledo game with a thigh strain (which was unfortunate since he was from Ohio).  He led the team in rushing with 804 yards, or 73.1 yards per game, a figure that ranked him fifth in the Big 12 and 65th in the nation.  He had nine touchdowns, 71 carries for five or more yards, 23 that went for 10-plus, and 41 in all that earned first downs.  He had three multiple TD games on the year, the most in a single season at CU since 2002, when Chris Brown had six.  He had five 100-yard games over the course of the season:  he was the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week (and CU’s Male Athlete of the Week for all sports) for his efforts in CU’s 34-30 win over Kansas, when he rushed 24 times for 108 yards, two touchdowns and six first downs; his 13-yard run with 8:36 to play proved to be the winning score.  He was CU’s co-Offensive Award winner for that game as well as for the Wyoming contest, when he had 32 carries for 127 yards and two scores.  His other triple-digit games came at West Virginia (21-105, 1 TD), versus Texas A&M (20-118, 2) and against Nebraska (21-110, 0).  He also caught 12 passes for 65 yards (no TDs, one first down), making at least one reception in the last six games of the season, and had one punt return.  He went over the 1,000-yard mark during the Kansas game, the 14th game of his career, as he became the 49th player in Colorado history to reach that plateau—but just the 12th to do it as a sophomore.  He had 197 of the last 233 attempts by the tailbacks in 2009.

2008 (Fr.)—Despite missing the better part of the final four games due to a broken leg (suffered on an illegal horse collar tackle at Texas A&M), he was selected as CU’s Male Freshman Athlete of the Year for all sports.  He earned third-team Freshman All-America honors by Phil Steele’s College Football, was a first-team Freshman All-Big 12 team member by rivals.com, and was second-team All-Colorado by the state’s chapter of the National Football Foundation.  He was CU’s Lee Willard Award winner as the team’s most outstanding freshman, and was also selected by the coaches for a Gold Group Commitment Award (excellence with class).  In seeing action in nine games (five starts), he led the team in rushing with 622 yards on 132 attempts, posting a team-best 4.7 yards per carry, scoring two touchdowns and 35 first downs.   He also caught seven passes for 43 yards (no scores) to give him 665 all-purpose yards, the second most on the team.  He rushed for 100-plus yards on three occasions, versus West Virginia (28-166), Florida State (21-107) and Kansas State (29-141, 1 TD), tying the school record for the most 100-yard games by a freshman.  He was the state’s (NFF) player of the week, the school’s athlete of the week and CU’s offensive back of the week for his efforts against West Virginia, with his 166 rushing yards the third most by a true freshman in school history.  He also caught three passes for 16 yards and earned nine first downs in the game.

HIGH SCHOOL—He earned first-team All-State, All-District and All-City honors as a senior, when he rushed for 2,036 yards and 33 touchdowns, averaging 10.8 yards per carry (with a long of 75, one of six runs over 50 yards).  He also caught 20 passes for 215 yards and three scores, and returned one punt—for 65 yards and a TD.  He did not play as a junior as he suffered a knee injury (ACL), but as a sophomore, he rushed for 1,200 yard and 15 touchdowns and had 700 yards and six scores as a freshman.  He rushed for just shy of 4,000 career yards with 54 touchdowns.  He played cornerback as an underclassmen, with four interceptions his soph season after picking off three as a frosh.  He had five games of 200-plus yards and 15 100-plus yard games in his prep career; three of his top games came during his senior year: in a 49-7 win over Centennial, he rushed for his career-best 243 yards and scored all seven of his team’s touchdowns... in a 69-0 romp over Mifflin, he rushed for 212 yards and six touchdowns... and in a 55-7 win over Whetstone, he had 212 yards and five scores.  Under coach Tom Blake, Brookhaven was 9-2 his senior year, losing in the first round of the playoffs, after going 6-4 his junior year; BHS was also 9-2 his sophomore season (first round playoff setback) but was 15-0 his freshman year, winning the Division II state championship.  He also lettered four times in track (sprints, relays) and was a member of the 2005 state championship team (prep best was 10.7 in the 100-meters).

ACADEMICS—He is majoring in Sociology at Colorado and is on schedule to graduate in May 2012.  He maintained a 3.0 grade point average in high school.

PERSONAL—He was born January 3, 1990 in Columbus, Ohio.  Hobbies include most sports in general, bowling, dancing, listening to music and watching comedy movies.  Nickname is “Speedy.”  His second cousin was CU teammate Douglas Rippy, who actually got him interested in the Buffaloes and vice-versa. Both were members of the same 2008 recruiting class.

  Rushing High Games Receiving High Games
Season G Att Yds Avg. TD Long Att Yds No. Yds Avg. TD Long Rec Yds
2008 9 132 622 4.7 2 22 29 166 7 43 6.2 0 10 3 19
2009 11 198 804 4.1 9 36t 32 127 12 65 5.4 0 17 2 17
2010 12 290 1318 4.5 10 65 36 195 29 290 10.0 0 34 6 49
2011 11 189 854 4.5 4 52 26 181 45 571 12.7 0 76 7 98
Totals 43 809 3598 4.4 25 65 36 195 93 969 10.4 0 76 7 98

ADDITIONAL STATISTICS—Passing: 1-1-0, 23, 1 TD (2010); 1-1-0, 14, 1 TD (2011). Punt Returns: 1-0, 0.0 avg. (2009), 5-22, 4.6 avg., 14 long (2011). Kickoff Returns: 11-239, 21.7 avg., 36 long (2011). Special Team Tackles: 2,1—3 (2011).

 

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