Former Rhode Island wide receiver Harold Buckner III is completing an internship with the URI Sports Communications office. As part of the internship, he has interviewed a handful of his former teammates for a blog series of features for GoRhody.com.
By Harold Buckner III
Mr. D.J. Stewart, the Humble Lion Bear.
Where do I start with this guy? I've been following Stewart in practice and watching him become the player that he wants to be as he's ending up his last college football training camp.
Since the first day of camp, he has grown tremendously. He has progressed every day. Even as one of the veterans on the team, Stewart has specific things to work on, namely his eyes, back peddling and making sure he's in the right place at the right time. These things give him the best opportunity to make a play.
The most important thing I see with Stewart is that he's very focused and carries himself well on and off the field. Heading into his final season, he figures to be the starting safety for a third consecutive year after switching over from playing wide receiver as a freshman. In his first season on defense, Stewart led the Rams and ranked seventh among all CAA Football players with 8.0 tackles per game.
Stewart is very determined. He has the mentality that whatever he wants to do in his life he will achieve it.
Where did that mindset come from?
"I've just always been that way," Stewart said. "I was raised to be humble, but at the same time to work hard because nothing is ever given."
That's where his moniker "Humble Bear" comes from. I was fortunate enough to interview Stewart this summer for my internship and ask him a few questions regarding the upcoming season. We talked about the personal accolades or goals that he wanted to reach.
When asked what it meant to him to be the leader of the defense, he said, "I look at it as being a captain and having to lead my team to a championship. I want to lead by example and show what's right from wrong."
The Humble Lion Bear is not new to interviews. In one of his GoRhody.com interviews during training camp before the 2017 season, he said, "Every day we come out and want to get better. From the players on up to the coaches, we want to improve as a team."
This year he still has the same approach and wants to help lead his team to a championship. Stewart is the type of person that leads by example and does all of the right things to be successful. His answers were not surprising. Stewart had himself positioned to finish his career on a high note in 2018 while accomplishing everything he puts his mind to.
I wish you as well as the team the best of luck this season, Go Rhody!