In the world of recruiting, you win some, and you lose some. Miami lost a big one today when Opa Locka (FL) Monsignor Pace 5-star DE Shemar Stewart spurned the hometown Canes and committed to the Texas A&M Aggies on National Signing Day.
Shemar Stewart playing hat games. And commits to Texas A&M.— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) February 2, 2022
Even if getting Stewart to stay home in Miami was always going to be a tough task, this is still one of the biggest misses in this class.
A 6’6” 272lb DE, Stewart is everybody’s All-American. He has prototypical size and incredible skill at a position of need for Miami, and he’s a South Florida native. To let a player of this caliber, and rare combination of size and ability get away is a bad, bad miss for Miami.
Throughout the 2 year process of recruiting — the normal timeline for elite recruits such as Stewart — Miami had always been running behind. Some say that’s because former coach Manny Diaz didn’t prioritize the 5-star talent as highly as he should have. Others say some in Stewart’s circle wanted to see him go elsewhere. Still others say people associated with this recruitment were chasing money more than the best interest of the player. Regardless of why Miami was running behind, it is a bad look that they were running behind.
While Miami was trying to figure out if the 5-star Stewart was a player they wanted to heavily pursue, another team had no such qualms and was all-in on Stewart from the jump:
Aggies HC Jimbo Fisher knew of Stewart from his time at Florida State, and previously got highly ranked DE Donnell Harris from Miami to College Station, and he worked a similar gameplan to win the war for Stewart’s commitment.
Stewart visited College Station no fewer than 5 times over the course of the last 2 years, and at every turn, Fisher and company made sure he knew he was at the very top of their board. Contrast that with Miami, who got Stewart on campus some, but only really was focused on pushing to get the 5-star talent in the class, and that tells the story of this recruitment pretty well.
No, there is no such thing as a “must get” recruit. And yes, Miami has a pair of All-American DEs already signed in the 2022 recruiting class in Nyjalik Kelly and Cyrus Moss, but missing on Stewart is another in a long line of misses on the top local players for Miami. And yes, this is infinitely more on Manny Diaz than Mario Cristobal, but regardless of who is the HC for Miami, letting players of Stewart’s caliber go elsewhere is a trend that has needed to change for more than a decade.
Mario Cristobal did all he could to play catch-up to the massive lead Texas A&M had built with Stewart, but there wasn’t enough time to overcome such a gap. Stewart was the 1st recruit Cristobal called after accepting the Miami job. Miami sent 4 staffers to visit Stewart in-home at 12:01am after the dead period ended at midnight a couple weeks ago. Miami got Stewart to cancel yet-another unofficial (paid by the recruit) visit to aTm to take an unofficial visit to Miami 3 weeks ago. And that was before Miami brought Stewart on campus for an official visit last weekend.
So the work was there. The effort was made. But, in the end, the longstanding connection to Texas A&M was too much for Miami to overcome for the #10 player in the nation.
I don’t like it for selfish reasons, but I respect Stewart’s decision and wish him the best in the future.
More on Miami recruiting through the rest of NSD.