Q&A with Eastern Illinois Commit DJ Stewart (Westminster, 2017)

Shon Plack
Missouri Scouting Director

DJ Stewart (Westminster, 2017) has recently committed to play at Eastern Illinois.  The 6-foot-1 190-pound right-handed hitting shortstop attended the PBR Future Games last August, where he showed athleticism and range at shortstop and turning in mult-hit game against Team Wisconsin. 

Stewart ran a 7.10 60 at the Futures Games workout to go along with an 86 mph positional velo and 94 exit velo.

Currently, Stewart and Westminster teammates are ranked #1 in Missouri's Class 4.  He boasts a .406 batting average with one home run and 15 RBI. He is looking to lead the Wildcats  back to their fifth state championship in six years. In January, he was named by the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Association as the Newcomer of the Year.

Here is a look inside the recruiting process for DJ Stewart.

PBR: What were your expectations about the recruiting process? Was it as expected? Easy/Difficult?

Stewart: The recruiting process was definitely difficult and nerve racking.  I was not expecting it to be this time consuming. I enjoyed the process talking to new coaches and receiving feed back from them.

PBR: Did location or distance from home play a factor in your decision?

Stewart: Location definitely played a factor, I wanted a change of scenery from St. Louis but also not to far from my parents. I wanted to stay within 7-8 hours so my friends and family could come see me play.

PBR: Where did Eastern Illinois first see you? How did your relationship develop with them?

Stewart: Eastern Illinois first saw me at the Future's Game and after that I called them on the phone and kept in contact ever since. Coach Beemer was such an easy person to talk to and made the recruiting process easier for me. I always felt comfortable calling him anytime.

PBR: Who is the best player you have faced in your state, and why?

Stewart: Best player I have played against in high school was Jake Lochner. He was an excellent pitcher throwing low 90s with good off speed from the left side. That was one of my first experiences hitting against some one that talented. I like testing myself against the best and he was one of them.

PBR: What advice would you give to young baseball players striving to get where you are?

Stewart: The advice I would give is to always strive to be the best you can be. Work to be the best out of everyone you play. Never settle keep working to get better each day. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities, but stay humble. Take criticism well from other players, coaches, scouts or anyone for that matter because it will only make you better. Finally remember to have fun and not get all wrapped into the recruiting process. Baseball is a fun sport and should enjoy yourself.

PBR: What do you do in the offseason to keep yourself in baseball shape and prepare for the upcoming season?

Stewart: In the offseason I work with my coaches as much as possible to make sure I stay on top of my game. I try to get in contact with my other teammates so we can all get better. I take hitting lessons and work on my speed, agility and fielding ability. Every swing every ground ball makes you better so I try to do as much as possible in the offseason.

PBR: What is the most memorable moment in your baseball career to this point?

Stewart: My most memorable moment is winning the RBI (Returning Baseball to Inner Cities) Regional Championship in Miller Park. We played a really good team from Chicago and it was a great game to play in. The field was absolutely amazing and a blessing to play on. Winning that game allowed us to play in Texas against teams from around the country and also a team from the Dominican Republic. It was such a great experience playing in a Major League stadium and playing great teams.

PBR: What do you like most about Eastern Illinois and what were the key factors in making your decision?

Stewart: Eastern Illinois seemed like a perfect fit for me. The coaching staff was young, energetic and easy to talk to. They made me feel really comfortable and that I was already apart of the EIU family. The program has a lot of talent and looks to be on the way up and I jumped at the opportunity to be apart of it. The atmosphere at the games and around the school was amazing and fun place to be at. I always had a good feeling about EIU and I feel like I made the perfect decision for myself.

PBR: What other schools were on your short list before you made your final decision?

Stewart: Other schools I was talking to were Kentucky and Mizzou and a few others. EIU was one of the first few schools to talk to me and seemed very interested.

PBR: When did the recruiting process really start to heat up for you? Was there a particular game or event that you feel turned the corner for you?

Stewart: The Futures Game was definitely when the recruiting process picked up. After those games I had a lot of emails about camps and schools. Playing in the Future's Game really made the recruiting process for me take off and I was very grateful to play in that event.

PBR: Tell us about your high school season. How do you and your team doing?

Stewart: The high school has been going great. The team is very close and very talented and could go far in the playoffs. It's fun playing along side them getting better each and everyday. Learning from the Hall of Famer Coach Van Glist is great and enjoyable. Can't wait to finish the season strong with them.

PBR: Where do you play in the summer? And what has been your most memorable experience with them?

Stewart: I play for Team Missouri Retro in the summer and the most memorable thing is playing baseball every weekend with them and hanging with them at the hotel. Playing with them is a blast and we play very competitive baseball which is always interesting. They are like my second family and love playing with them.

For More PBR News