Hampden football player heading to Oklahoma for top-prospect combine

Posted June 30, 2011, at 1:59 p.m.
Last modified June 30, 2011, at 5:14 p.m.

Logan Steward doesn’t expect to be recruited by the University of Oklahoma football program any time soon.

But the versatile Hampden Academy standout, who will be a junior with the Broncos this fall, will experience a taste of life as a football player on that storied campus later this month because of his potential on the gridiron.

Steward recently was chosen to attend the invitation-only National Underclassmen Combine Top Prospect Development Camp, to be held at the Sooners’ football facility in Norman, Okla., on July 24-25.

Not a bad birthday present for Steward, who will turn 17 on July 22.

“My mom got the e-mail about it, and I thought, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’” said Steward. “I was excited.”

Steward, a running back, wide receiver and cornerback who as a sophomore helped Hampden reach the Pine Tree Conference Class B semifinals last fall, earned his trip to Oklahoma through his performances earlier this year at local and regional combines — events that put players through drills to measure various skills that include strength, speed, jumping ability and football acumen.

Steward was named MVP from among his peers in the Class of 2013 after his combine debut in mid-May at Scarborough High School, an event located geographically to attract players from northern New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

“Being it was my first combine I was kind of nervous,” said Steward. “I didn’t know if I’d do well, there were a lot of guys from Massachusetts there. I just wanted to show what I could do, and after competing in the seven-on-seven and one-on-one drills I felt like maybe I would do OK.”

More than OK.

His effort earned the 5-foot-9, 188-pound Steward a spot in the Ultimate 100 East Camp at Bear, Del., in June — an invitational-only event where the top performers from local combines compete against other top regional athletes, many of them major Division I prospects.

“They were all good players, but by the time I got done competing I thought to myself, ‘I can actually compete with these guys,” said Steward. “I didn’t have my best times at the combine, but I put up decent times and learned some things.”

More recently he learned that showing was good enough to take him to yet another level of the combine experience, so now he’ll continue to work with Hampden strength and conditioning coach Richard Hoak to prepare for the chance to test himself against some of the nation’s best high school players.

“I’ll probably have to step up my workouts, and check on ‘YouTube’ about some of the drills they’ll be doing,” Steward said. “I’m going down there to get some experience, to see what I can do and to get better, those are my goals.”

There are other goals, too, some more team-oriented. One will be to use what he’s learned to help coach Harry McCluskey’s Hampden football team contend for a return to postseason play this fall.

“I asked Coach about this once I got the word,” said Steward, who also plans to play for Hampden’s seven-on-seven summer team in a tournament at the University of Maine in Orono the weekend after he returns from Oklahoma. “He had some very encouraging words for me, and that it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Another goal stems from the chance to represent his particular football community.

“I just want to show that I’m a kid from Maine but I can play with those guys,” he said.

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