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July 10, 2010BEAVERTON, Ore. - There was Josh Stewart, tape hanging off his banged up right hand, cleats off and flip flops on, out of the sun sitting under a tent sipping Gatorade and surrounded by teammates.
Minutes earlier, Stewart intercepted a pass and returned it about 90 yards for a touchdown to help his Denton (Texas) Guyer squad - named Hyper Fuse here at the NIKE 7on Tournament - to a semifinal victory against Gardena (Calif.) Serra, also known as the Land Sharks.
"I got really tired," Stewart said after the interception. "I knew I wasn't going to finish it strong, I had to slow down and I was done after that."
It was a double-digit victory and Stewart, a three-star prospect and Texas A&M commit, played a big role on offense and defense, either catching passes or knocking them down while defending five-star receiver George Farmer, four-star athlete Marqise Lee or a bevy of other receivers at Serra's disposal.
A few minutes remained on the clock when Stewart sat on the metal bench in the tent, resting up for the championship against Miami Northwestern (Vapor Trail) which turned into an absolute thriller.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and wide receiver Eli Rogers helped the Miami squad to a 44-42 double-overtime decision to beat Guyer as Northwestern won the 7on tournament for the second straight year.
"I'm happy with how I'm playing, there are always spots where I can improve, but we're winning so I think we're doing a pretty good job," Stewart said. "The role I'm playing I think I'm doing a pretty good job and as long as we're winning we're doing a good job.
"I have one (interception) almost every game. I guess some teams don't really know about me so they're just trying to take advantage. The speed out here is just crazy. Nobody out here is a higher caliber player because everybody is really good but nobody has really picked on me."
Rivals.com rates Stewart, a 5-foot-10 prospect, as the No. 32 cornerback nationally and No. 62 in the state rankings. All eight of Texas A&M's commitments are three-star recruits but after Stewart's performance here he's a good candidate to possibly move up in the rankings.
Lee continues to dominate games
Marqise Lee has focused more on basketball and track in recent months so it would be understandable if the Gardena (Calif.) Serra athlete wasn't in prime playing condition the last two days. Nothing could be further from reality.
Not only was Lee, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound prospect, good on both sides of the ball but he was probably the most productive player on Serra's roster (Farmer was limited at times with cramping problems). Lee finished the tournament with at least seven interceptions and he was also a threat at wide receiver.
"It's just hard work," Lee said. "I'm just playing for my team. The strongest part of my game is my defense and I'm just in the right position to get the pick and during the games that's where I try to put myself.
"Through all the running I'm in shape but I'm not in football shape. I'm still in shape to go a long time though. It's just hard work. In practice I go hard so I can be ready to come out here and play hard."
Arizona State, California, Florida, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, Stanford and Washington have offered Lee, who's rated as the No. 13 athlete and No. 87 prospect by Rivals.com but rankings don't seem to matter much to him.
"It's not that important to me," Lee said. "I play because I love it. I don't play for the rankings. The rankings are a good thing for other people to see but I'm not really worried about it. I'd rather not be ranked because when you're ranked you have to show some stuff instead of not being ranked and just doing your job."
More News & Notes: There was a gasp on the Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips sidelines when after Demetrius Hart caught a pass and the announcer inadvertently said Hart, a 5-foot-8, 190-pound all-purpose back, was an Alabama commit.
Hart has the Crimson Tide in his top three along with Michigan and Auburn but he has not yet made a pledge. It was a rare lighthearted moment during the heated competition.
** Some quarterbacks continued to impress on the final day of the 7on Tournament including Purdue commit Russell Bellomy, Oklahoma State pledge J.W. Walsh, SMU commit Conner Preston and Tampa (Fla.) Plant's Phillip Ely, who continues to develop physically and is starting to look like a college quarterback.
Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville's Cardale Jones had his moments and 2012 prospect Nick Patti from Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips looked good but no one was more exciting than Miami commit Teddy Bridgewater, who starred at quarterback and also excelled at wide receiver and defensive back.
** A number of under-the-radar prospects had good events including 2012 wide receivers Amari Cooper and Adonis Mack, Miami commit Eli Rogers and tight end/receiver Dominique Rhymes all from Miami Northwestern.
** Orlando Dr. Phillips wide receiver Chris Gallon was one of the biggest and best targets for two days. Hart was especially explosive and proved he could be a dynamic pass catcher at the college level.
** Others to keep an eye on are 2013 running back Anterio Bateman from Gardena (Calif.) Serra, Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville defensive back Malik Moore and wide receiver Shane Wynn. Matthews (N.C.) Butler's Kris Frost and 2013 linebacker Peter Kalambayi, Denton (Texas) Guyer wide receiver Quint Gardener along with Tampa Plant's James Wilder and 2012 wide receivers Austin Aikens and Daniel Casselli stood out.