Texas A&M Aggies: Kohl Stewart

Bama game key for Texas A&M recruiting

September, 13, 2013
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Like virtually every coach in major college football, Kevin Sumlin understands the importance of recruiting.

It's the lifeblood of a program. As players graduate or move on, new ones must come in to keep success going.

[+] EnlargeKevin Sumlin
Brett Davis/US PresswireTexas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said the "move to the SEC has obviously been a boost" for the Aggies in recruiting.
Since taking over at Texas A&M, Sumlin and his staff have leveraged the power of playing in the SEC to their benefit, landing a top 10 recruiting class in the 2013 cycle while being on pace to do so again for the Class of 2014.

And this weekend could be the biggest yet when it comes hosting recruits.

While the college football world has long awaited the Alabama-Texas A&M rematch, the A&M staff has spent months preparing for the recruiting aspect of this weekend.

Roughly 75 recruits are expected to be in attendance for Saturday's highly-anticipated game between the No. 1 Crimson Tide and the No. 6 Aggies.

"I think [the game has] already had an impact," Sumlin said. "We have a large number of prospects that are going to be here. The move to the SEC has obviously been a boost for us. I think it wouldn't be as big of a boost if we didn't have some sort of success in the league last year. We didn't have all the success we wanted. We were extremely competitive and won a big game last year. But all that being said, I think the ability to compete and win in this league has really helped us too, in recruiting."

And that's the key. Without the 11-2 record, the Heisman Trophy run for Johnny Manziel or all the attention coming to the program as a result of that success in the SEC, widely considered the country's best conference, this weekend might not have been as big.

While the number of recruits who will be in attendance is impressive, so are the names. Topping that list are a host of highly-regarded 2014 ESPN 300 prospects: defensive end Myles Garrett, athlete Speedy Noil, safety Jamal Adams, defensive tackle Gerald Willis III, athlete Davion Hall, safety Edwin Freeman are among those expected. All of them are top 100 recruits.

“It’s going to be great, knowing A&M is in our top three," said Noil, who is making the trip with Willis, his high school teammate. "I want to see what they offer as an offense.”

Said Willis: “It’s going to be crazy. I’m very excited.”

A host of 2015 ESPN Junior 300 prospects are also expected in attendance. Receiver Tyron Johnson, outside linebacker Malik Jefferson, defensive end Anthony Wheeler and quarterback Kyler Murray are just a sampling of the impressive juniors that will make the trip.

If there's any doubt as to how important recruiting is to the Texas A&M staff, take this as evidence: Sumlin and defensive line coach Terry Price were out on the trail Thursday night via helicopter and trekked to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to see a prospect, fewer than 48 hours before one of the biggest games in program history.

The target? Garrett, the No. 7 player in the 2014 ESPN 300.

Sumlin and offensive coordinator Clarence McKinney also made a helicopter trip to Houston to see then-uncommitted 2013 ESPN 300 receiver Ricky Seals-Jones and 2013 Texas A&M quarterback commitment Kohl Stewart on a nationally-televised game between Sealy (Texas) High and Houston St. Pius X. Seals-Jones eventually committed and signed with the Aggies; Stewart signed but chose to play professional baseball after being chosen fourth overall in the MLB draft this summer.

While the Aggies continue to strengthen their position in recruiting statewide, their longtime rival, Texas, has a lot of question marks at the moment. After a decisive loss to BYU, the Longhorns fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. While the schools don't play each other anymore, they still battle for the same recruits. A win this weekend would further strengthen Texas A&M's position in the talent-rich Lone Star State.

This weekend has become something of a perfect storm for the Aggies. The chance to make a statement on a national level is there, with the eyes of fans across the country watching, not to mention dozens of recruits at Kyle Field to experience it all.

"You don't have a stage like this for this weekend if you're not a competitive program," Sumlin said. "And I think the high school coaches in this state do a fantastic job of coaching and regionally, recognizing that. And I think student-athletes are recognizing that, too, that we've got a great situation here from a stability standpoint, from a support standpoint, from a facilities standpoint and from a league standpoint.

"You don't have to go 700-800-900 miles away anymore to get all those things. That has been a big selling point for us since we've gotten here and I think that message has been driven home every week that we play in the SEC, not just play but play in meaningful games on big stages."

Summer recruit wrap: Texas A&M 

July, 23, 2013
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Texas A&M's final one-day camp of the year wrapped up on Sunday and the start of fall practice is fewer than two weeks away for the Aggies. The summer has been a busy one on many fronts, but here's a look at five things we learned on the recruiting front about Texas A&M this summer:

1. The Aggies got their quarterback

Aggies QB Kohl Stewart to pursue baseball

June, 7, 2013
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HOUSTON -- Even though so many who followed the journey of Houston St. Pius X pitcher and 2013 ESPN 150 quarterback Kohl Stewart assumed that the flame-throwing righthander already had his mind and heart set on going to pro baseball, Stewart himself planned to be a Texas A&M Aggie.
Kohl Stewart
Courtesy of Deanna Werner/St. Pius XKohl Stewart said he wants to sign as quickly as possible so he can join the Twins organization.

It's what he grew up wanting to be. His family -- parents, siblings -- are Aggies and the fact that he had a scholarship to play football there "floored" him.

Until the first round of the 2013 MLB draft on Thursday night, one option was real and the other wasn't. His mother, Lisa, said as much Friday afternoon. Stewart, the No. 6-ranked pocket passer in the country, signed a letter of intent to play football at Texas A&M in February.

On Thursday, baseball became real when the Minnesota Twins selected Stewart fourth overall in the draft and on Friday, Stewart stated his desire to pursue professional baseball.

"I'm extremely excited to be a Twin," Stewart said. "I'm fortunate that they took me and I'm excited to help them in any way I can."

Read the rest of the story from Sam Khan Jr.


The picture cleared up just a little bit for Kohl Stewart (Houston/St. Pius X) on Thursday.

The 2013 ESPN 150 quarterback and highly-regarded high school pitching prospect, who signed with Texas A&M to play football, was chosen fourth overall in the first round of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins on Thursday, setting the stage for a life-altering decision.

Stewart, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound righthander, signed a national letter of intent with the Aggies' football team on Feb. 6, now must decide whether to join Texas A&M or forego college ball in order to pursue professional baseball.

His pitching repertoire, which includes a fastball that rises into the mid-90 mph range, has made him a top baseball draft prospect for more than a year. On the football field, he was the nation's sixth-ranked pocket passer, a four-star prospect who was No. 96 overall in the ESPN 150.

ESPN baseball scouts say Stewart "has four legitimate pitches with an athletic, strong build and the potential for two grade-70s offerings on the 20-80 scouting scale. His fastball is consistently 92-94, touching 97, with good downhill plane."

During a press conference on national signing day in February, Aggies head coach Kevin Sumlin stated that he and Stewart already had candid conversations about his future.

"Our conversations with him have been that we'd love to have him, he wants to come here," Sumlin said. "But also, there's nothing wrong with being Brandon Weeden. I told him if he wants to go play, go play. We'll still have a place for you when you're 25. That's worked out for a lot of people too. He understood that."

The deadline for 2013 draft picks to sign with the teams the have chosen them is 5 p.m. eastern time on July 12.

Law: Kohl Stewart with a top 10 look

March, 15, 2013
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ESPN baseball insider Keith Law was in Houston on Thursday night to scout Houston St. Pius X pitcher and Texas A&M quarterback signee Kohl Stewart during his outing against Houston Christian.

It was Stewart's second start since his return from a shoulder strain and the ESPN 150 quarterback, who inked a national letter of intent with the Aggies in February, showed the stuff of a potential top 10 pick in the upcoming 2013 MLB draft, Law said.

Read Law's full report here Insider
Adoree JacksonBlair Angulo/WeAreSC.comAdoree' Jackson is interested in visiting Texas A&M this summer.
ESPN Watch List athlete Adoreé Jackson wasn't able to participate in the Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp over the weekend because of a foot injury, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been busy on the recruiting trail.


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QB Kohl Stewart in Law's 'Future 50' 

March, 14, 2013
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ESPN Insider Keith Law released his latest Future 50 rankings, his take on the top 50 prospects for the upcoming MLB draft.

One player in Law's top 50 is Texas A&M class of 2013 quarterback recruit Kohl Stewart, who signed a letter of intent with the Aggies in February.

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Coach's take: QB Kohl Stewart 

February, 12, 2013
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"Coach's take" is a series that allows GigEmNation to offer readers a closer look at the incoming recruits in Texas A&M's 2013 class by visiting with someone who coached the player or coached against him. Today, we take a look at Houston St. Pius X quarterback Kohl Stewart by visiting with his head football coach, Blake Ware.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Stewart was an Under Armour All-American and is a four-star prospect, ranked No. 6 nationally among pocket passers. He's 96th overall in the ESPN 150 and was named the Touchdown Club of Houston's Player of the Year in area private schools.


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Position breakdown: Quarterback 

February, 12, 2013
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With Texas A&M's magical 2012 season in the books and the 2013 edition of national signing day in the rearview mirror, spring practice is quickly approaching.

Yes, it's already time to think about "next season."

The Aggies will hit the field for spring drills in mere weeks, with March 2 serving as the date for the first practice. Coach Kevin Sumlin and company will look to build on an unforgettable 11-2 season in which the Aggies won as many games as they had since 1998, defeated the eventual BCS champion, brought in a Heisman Trophy and crushed Oklahoma in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.

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GigEmNation signing day blog

February, 6, 2013
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Welcome to GigEmNation's live coverage of national signing day for the Texas A&M Aggies. We'll be with you throughout the day providing up-to-the minute updates on A&M's class of 2013.

Watch live coverage on ESPNU | 2013 Texas A&M recruiting class

(Read full post)

In a year's time, things have changed quite a bit for Texas A&M. Look no further than national signing day as evidence.

In 2012, much of the attention and concern regarding the Aggies' recruiting class heading into signing day was on whether the Aggies could hold on to one of their most notable commitments, ESPN 150 receiver Bralon Addison.

It didn't happen, as Addison flipped to Oregon and signed with the Ducks.

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Signing day primer: Texas A&M 

January, 23, 2013
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Team needs: There are three key need areas for Texas A&M in this recruiting class: defensive tackles, linebackers and receivers. The defensive tackle need stems from the Aggies' scheme switch. The 2010 and 2011 seasons were spent in a 3-4 alignment, and recruiting was tailored to that. Once Kevin Sumlin arrived and hired Mark Snyder as his defensive coordinator, the Aggies switched to a 4-3, meaning another defensive tackle on the field, meaning more were needed. At linebacker, the Aggies say goodbye to a pair of senior leaders, Sean Porter and Jonathan Stewart, both of whom were starters. The other starting linebacker, Steven Jenkins, will be a senior this season. At receiver there are several contributors leaving as well. Ryan Swope, Uzoma Nwachukwu and Kenric McNeal were all seniors. Thomas Johnson, a true freshman who appeared in 10 games and was one of the gems of the 2012 recruiting class, withdrew from school and might not return. There's another scholarship spot at the position in the form of Brandal Jackson, who was on scholarship but not part of the 105-man roster at the start of fall camp.

Help is on the way: At defensive tackle, A&M scored commitments from ESPN 150 defensive tackle Justin Manning and ESPN 300 defensive tackle Isaiah Golden. Three-star prospect Hardreck Walker and three-star Jordan Points (who is already on campus) round out that group. There are six linebackers in the class, led by ESPN 300 ILB Jordan Mastrogiovanni. Three are already on campus and enrolled: Brett Wade, Reggie Chevis and Tommy Sanders. At receiver, the Aggies have plenty. Ricky Seals-Jones tops the list, prep school standout Ja'Quay Williams is already in school, and there's a pair of three-star receivers as well. Not to mention, No. 1 tight end prospect Derrick Griffin would be a receiver at A&M if he makes it in, and athlete LaQuvionte Gonzalez likely would be an inside receiver.

Other key commits: A pair of Under Armour All-Americans, guard Joas Aguilar and cornerback Noel Ellis, plus a U.S. Army All-American, safety Kameron Miles, round out a group 10 prospects that are among ESPN's top 300. Two quarterbacks are in the class (Kohl Stewart and Kenny Hill), but it's worth keeping an eye on them as Stewart is a potential high MLB draft pick and Hill took official visits to Baylor and Kansas State. Eight early enrollees in the class are already on campus (Chevis, Points, Sanders, Wade, Williams, Cameron Clear, Alex Sezer and Jeremiah Stuckey), and there are plenty of promising three-star commits, including guys like cornerback Tavares Garner and outside linebacker Darian Claiborne.

Other key targets: There aren't a ton of targets left for the Aggies at this point. Their focus is on a small handful of guys. Adding a defensive end would be ideal for the Aggies, and they're pursuing Washington commit Daeshon Hall and USC commit Torrodney Prevot in that regard. Hall visited recently, and Prevot could soon. They are also still looking at another receiver. Former USC commit Sebastian LaRue is one of those targets, and he was in on an official visit recently. They are also looking at Florida State commit Levonte Whitfield, who said he plans to officially visit Feb. 1.

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This was a move that a lot people saw coming for several months. Some contributing factors include Ricky Seals-Jones' (Sealy, Texas/Sealy) relationship with quarterback Kohl Stewart (Houston/St. Pius X), the offensive scheme at A&M and how it accentuates the skill positions, and of course the magical season that the Aggies had on the gridiron. This offense likes to have big, go-to receivers and it’s the ideal scheme for Seals-Jones to develop and flourish within.

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Ricky Seals-JonesMax Olson/ESPN.comRicky Seals-Jones is No. 13 in the ESPN 150 and is ranked as the No. 1 athlete.
SEALY, Texas -- Life has been pretty good for Texas A&M lately.

The Aggies concluded a 10-2 regular season, their first in the Southeastern Conference, on Nov. 24 and finished the regular season ranked in the top 10. They earned a berth in the AT&T Cotton Bowl to play Oklahoma. Since the season ended, they scored commitments from the state's No. 1 defensive tackle (Justin Manning), a standout prep school receiver (Ja'Quay Williams), a junior college tight end (Cameron Clear) and two 2014 ESPN Watch List prospects (Nick Harvey and Shaun Nixon).

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TAMU recruiting momentum continues 

December, 6, 2012
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videoLanding Dallas Kimball defensive tackle Justin Manning is hardly the start of a wave of momentum for Texas A&M on the recruiting trail, but it is without question one of the biggest signs of it.

Whatever a recruit has on a list of wants in a football program, chances are the Aggies can fulfill it. With a winning season in the country's premier football conference, the possibilities seem endless. The energy Kevin Sumlin, Johnny Manziel and the Southeastern Conference membership has injected into the program has the Aggies thinking big and it's catching the attention of the top recruits around the state of Texas, with Manning being the latest to jump on board.

[+] EnlargeJustin Manning
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comJustin Manning is the top defensive tackle in Texas.
The ESPN 150 defensive tackle, who is ranked eighth at his position in the country and is the 12th-best prospect in the state, committed to Texas A&M during a ceremony on Thursday afternoon at Kimball High School. The four-star prospect is the No. 88 player in the ESPN 150 and is the fifth player in the ESPN 150 to commit to Texas A&M.

The acquisition of Manning gives the Aggies 33 commitments in their 2013 class. Included in that list is Texas' No. 1 tight end prospect [Derrick Griffin], the state's No. 1 quarterback [Kohl Stewart], the No. 1 offensive guard [Joas Aguilar], the No. 1 safety [Kameron Miles] and now the No. 1 defensive tackle in Manning.

Let that sink in for a minute. The Aggies have the state's top-ranked 2013 recruit at five different positions. They could make it six if they close on Sealy (Texas) High School athlete Ricky Seals-Jones, a former Texas commit who is considering only LSU and Texas A&M currently.

Manning, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound prospect, was long considered an Oklahoma lean. His older brother, DeMarcus Granger, was a defensive tackle at Oklahoma. It was thought that Manning would follow in his brother's footsteps.

But the Aggies persisted. Texas A&M receivers coach David Beaty, who has been a force in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Aggies, built a good relationship with Manning and the defensive tackle began to build one with his future defensive line coach, Terry Price, when he took his official visit in September. The key word for Manning throughout his recruitment has been "trust" and the A&M coaches have clearly earned Manning's.


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