PAINT HIM ORANGE!

PAINT HIM ORANGE!

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - The nation's No. 3 middle linebacker will play football at Clemson University.


Steward signing his LOI.

In what was nothing short of a wild scene at Pedro Menendez High School Wednesday morning, Tony Steward, once considered a lock to go to Florida State, announced he would indeed be playing football at Clemson University in 2011.

Steward made the announcement shortly after 10:00 AM Eastern Time.

"This was a decision that was a big challenge for me," he said before a national television audience. "But next year I will going to Clemson University."

CUTigers caught up with Steward afterwards to hear how it all went down.

"There was something about Clemson," he said. "I'm still a Florida State fan but God led me to Clemson. I prayed about this for a long time and this is where he led me to go. There's no looking back."

Steward said he informed the Clemson coaching staff late last night.

"I called coach Swinney and told him I was coming to Clemson and was real excited," he said. "I knew it was a big deal but I didn't expect that kind of reaction.

"I also talked to (FSU head coach) Coach Fisher and he made it easy on me. I have nothing but respect for Florida State and I let him know that."

Steward said playing time was not a factor in his decision, it just came down to his own personal choice.

"God is leading me to Clemson and I know that. It wasn't easy telling my mom about it. I didn't want to tell her when I finally decided but this is where I belong," he added.

CUTigers also talked to the head coach of Menendez High School, Keith Cromwell about Tony's decision.

"I'm just happy for Tony," he said. "He's not a guy that wants to be in the spotlight and this was a lot to go through but he made the right decision for him and that's all that matters.

"He handled this all the right way and we are extremely happy for him right now."

Cromwell said Steward is, without a doubt, the best player he's ever coached.

"It's not even close," he said. "He scored every way possible this year and is a once-in-lifetime kind of talent. Just as importantly off the field you won't find anybody better. He's a coaches' dream."

The addition of Steward gives Clemson's linebacking unit a significant boost in the coming seasons, and could be the first of two elite level linebackers to commit to the Tigers today.

Five-star linebacker Stephone Anthony is also expected to announce for the orange and white before noon Wednesday.

To relive the live updates from Tony Steward's press conference, please visit the following link on the CUTigers.com Premium Message Board The Valley:

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