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University Prep LB Xair Stevenson Breaks Down Top Three

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Xair Stevenson

The past eight months have been nothing short of a “blessing” for University Prep linebacker Xair Stevenson.

After a standout performance in the City League championship and a thoroughly impressive first-team All-City junior season, college programs came calling.

“The process has been a blessing. In the championship game, I had around 30 tackles in that game and, boom, right after that game, I got a call from Akron and they offered me. That’s when the offers started rolling in,” Stevenson said.

On Thursday, Stevenson’s dreams of playing at the next level came that much closer to reality as he announced his top three schools: Buffalo, Temple and Toledo.

Xair Stevenson

Xair Stevenson announces his final three

Stevenson won’t wait much longer to make his decision as he plans to commit on June 23 — a day that is special for Stevenson to honor his uncle.

“We call it Dre Day because it’s the day he passed. It’s a special day for me, so that’s why I chose to do it on that day,” Stevenson said.

With just over a week until decision day for Stevenson, he has a lot to think about when it comes to his three choices.

Temple was the first school to extend an offer early on during Stevenson’s junior season thanks to a built-in connection with one of his USO coaches, Delvon Randall, who was a safety for the Owls from 2015-18.

“The big reason why I put Temple into my top three is they were my first offer. They got me to where I am now for all schools looking at me,” he said.

Stevenson had an eye-opening experience when he visited Temple when the Owls took on Miami at Lincoln Financial Field on Sept. 23.

“It was a vibe. It wasn’t like a big, big school but it was to the point where it was like, ‘Oh, this a good college and this is what I’m about to go do,” he said.

Another University Prep coaching connection paved the way for his offer from Toledo. USO alum Jaylen Coleman was a linebacker for the Rockets from 2012-2016 and has been a big mentor to Stevenson.

“My freshman, sophomore year when Jaylen Coleman came into my life, it was a blessing. He’s been there, done that. That connection is a blessing because a lot of coaches don’t have connections with coaches,” Stevenson said.

With the help of Coleman, Stevenson has built a strong relationship with Toledo head coach Jason Candle.

“He was like a father already to me,” Stevenson said. “He was saying what’s going to happen when I get up there and basically giving me the real that some coaches don’t.”

Out of Stevenson’s top three, Buffalo was the most recent suitor to join with an offer coming at the beginning of February, and it came from a coach that he had built a bond with.

“Coach Joe Bowen was at Miami (Oh.), and he came to my school the day before he went to Buffalo. When he came up to my school, he was giving me the real and I loved the energy about him. When he went from Miami (Oh.) to Buffalo, he offered me, so me and his bond is really connected.”

Stevenson has since had an opportunity to visit in April where he saw the Buffalo program upgrading their facilities.

“When I went up there, a couple of things were getting worked on. It’s an amazing facility. Everything is good about that school,” he said.

All three schools are recruiting Stevenson in the ‘Star’ role that slots him in as an outside linebacker/strong safety hybrid.

Through the offseason, the 6-foot, 186-pound prospect is just looking to improve his game on the field and as a leader.

“I’ve been working on getting my eyes to the right place,” Stevenson said. “I am a leader and my leadership is amazing, but I feel like I can be better. I want schools to come look at me, but I really want them to come look at my teammates.”

After a junior season where he racked up 133 total tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles, Stevenson is already setting goals for his senior year.

“I want a state run,” Stevenson said. “I want 130 tackles, 10-15 touchdowns. Anything that can help my team win.”

 

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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