COLLEGE STATION -- Evan Stewart is gliding his way through practice in the 100-degree heat at Texas A&M fall practice. He's been the talk of the Aggies' No. 1 recruiting class since arriving in College Station back in January.
Stewart should be considered one of the main receivers of A&M's offensive production in 2022. Throughout practice, the Frisco native has worked with the first-team offense and looked natural for an 18-year-old still adjusting to college football.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher will make every player earn his reps with the starters. He also will make players prove compliments are warranted.
"You think 'Oh boy he's really gifted, but how more importantly mature is he? How well does he learn? How well does he adapt to failures' because as a young guy you're going to have failures" Fisher said Thursday. "I think from that standpoint he does a really good job."
Stewart, SI All-American's No. 12 overall prospect, caught the attention of Fisher and the other offensive playmakers during spring practice. A constant prospect in terms that developed his route-running and tracking skills, few receivers matched his level of impact as him during practice.
For his efforts, Stewart was named A&M's Offensive MVP of spring football as an early enrollee.
"He brings a really good package to that room, especially as young as he is," A&M receivers coach James Coley said of Stewart last week. "He takes a lot of pride in being prepared and having his toolbox and skillset ready to go for practice."
The hype surrounding Stewart's potential in A&M's offense is there for a reason. The Aggies haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Josh Reynolds in 2016. With the departures of Demond Demas and Caleb Chapman via the transfer portal, the offense is missing a vertical presence.
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Fisher has been pleased with Stewart's quick rise up the depth chart but reminds those looking to call him the next can't-miss prospect that he still is a freshman. The goal is to continue to coach him up and "dot the I's and cross the T's" each practice throughout his first season.
First-year receivers under Fisher have has success before. At Florida State, Kelvin Benjamin lit up Doak Campbell Stadium with 30 catches for 495 yards and four touchdowns before his breakout season in 2013. In Aggieland, Ainias Smith became a staple of the offense in the slot in 2019.
Stewart could be next in line. Fisher praised his maturity and drive as factors that have helped him translate promptly. Still, things change against opposing defenses compared to those Stewart has seen in practice.
"His comprehension of football in general, along with his overall intelligence allows him to have success early," Fisher said.
The Aggies open the season against Sam Houston at Kyle Field on Sept. 3.
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