Will Texas A&M Football Lose Evan Stewart to the Portal?
With the dismissal of head coach Jimbo Fisher almost two weeks ago now, Texas A&M football fans have been not only anxious to see who will replace him, but worried about how the roster will stay together in his absence. One of the top names that A&M fans were watching in this regard—and would have been even if Fisher had stayed—is that of former five-star Evan Stewart.
Stewart committed to the Aggies in the 2022 cycle after backing off a former pledge to the Longhorns. This precipitated a mass short-circuiting of Texas fans’ brains; even right up until he signed, they were predicting that he would flip back to them, and almost daily since that point have been mentioning that he is imminently headed to the transfer portal. Look at any social media post of his—even those that are positive and pro-A&M—and you will find a Longhorn fan. It is honestly one of the most remarkable things I have seen in my time following recruiting; I cannot think of a single prospect that a spurned fanbase has so doggedly and ardently continued to follow with breathless anticipation for an invented future.
I will refrain from diving into any sort of psychologizing on this point, but the main thrust here is that the utterly astounding propensity of discussion surrounding this young man eventually changing universities has seeped also into Texas A&M football fans’ brains to a certain degree; many less temperate Aggie fans are constantly dithering about Stewart’s status with the team and analyzing social media likes. A few weeks ago, the social media sphere was aflutter with the news that he had left a like on a post suggesting that A&M should hire a different coach, now, the worry is that he’s mad we fired Jimbo. Pick a lane!
In any case, a report has surfaced in the last couple of days from Gerry Hamilton of On3 that Stewart “is a prime candidate” to enter his name in the portal, with Alabama being the leader in the clubhouse. Hamilton remarked that Stewart is likely to do so on December 4th, which is when the portal officially opens for Division 1 FBS players. This, of course, ignited a huge level of discourse among people who spend far too much time thinking about this particular situation and sent certain sections of Aggie and Longhorn twitter into unbridled melancholy and joy respectively.
Now, it should be mentioned that Hamilton is a moderator for On3’s Texas site, Inside Texas, and that he reported it on their board. That is… strange. If I can characterize your reporting as “gleeful” then I’m not so sure it is altogether unbiased. For his part, Billy Liucci has contested the conclusiveness of some of this reporting; Hamilton said that Stewart would be out for the rest of the season and would not travel to Baton Rouge, while Liucci characterized his status for LSU as up-in-the-air, but did report that an injury had been holding Stewart out of practice. In fact, it seems as though Liucci was saying that Stewart’s status for this weekend was the progenitor of the rumor, rather than a definitive declaration of intent. Hamilton’s insistence that Evan would hit the portal on December 4 is also strange; given that Jimbo has been fired, Stewart could enter the portal immediately. If this reporting is as sound as Hamilton has made it seem, then why would Stewart refrain from entering the portal immediately? Donovan Green made this same point on Twitter:
It may well end up being the case that Evan decides to conclude his collegiate career away from Texas A&M football. Liucci said that he himself would have Stewart on “portal watch”, just like he’d have any other big contributor on that list as they wait to see who Texas A&M football hires. At the moment, though, I wouldn’t give credence to any of this as anything more than a rumor that confirms the priors of a certain fanbase; hence why it was reported to that fanbase rather than the one that it actually concerns. I’m sure there’s no shortage of information flying around out there about one guy or another on this Texas A&M football team, or any other team who goes through a coaching change, giving thought to the portal.
The point is this: if it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen; if it’s not, then it’s not. This report doesn’t have any effect on that, at the end of the day. I haven’t seen any indication from Evan himself that he would want to be somewhere else; check the end of the most recent episode of the Pulse to see him helping lead the War Hymn at the end of the ACU game. Things can change quickly, but for now, I’m dubious of this specific report. He may end up being correct, but I don’t think whatever information led Hamilton to post this is necessarily conclusive.