At the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 State Championship, it can be hard for dual-threat quarterbacks to truly show their wares. For pro-style passers, however, it's the perfect opportunity to sling the football all around the field. Last week in College Station, perhaps no quarterback was better at that than Texas A&M commit Kohl Stewart.
The 6'3", 185-pounder spoke with SB Nation Recruiting about the benefits of such work for his school, Houston St. Pius X, as they prepare for the 2012 football season.
"I feel like we're doing well, we're moving the ball well, the timing is coming together," the gunslinger said. "I think that as the tournament goes on, we'll need to tighten some stuff up because the defenses will get better, but the more we play the more we'll improve. The whole point of this kind of stuff is to get your timing down and read defenses well. I think we're doing it."
The appearance at the state championship provided yet another opportunity to increase his comfort level in the city in which he will play his college football.
"It feels like home," Stewart said of College Station. "My brother and my sister come here for school, so I come here a lot; I come here for games. I feel pretty comfortable -- I know this place like the back of my hand. It's pretty cool."
More than just the move to the SEC, the Aggie football program looks significantly different now than it did when Stewart committed to A&M exactly a year ago. There's a whole new staff in place, including head coach Kevin Sumlin, a man the St. Pius X quarterback has been getting to know recently.
"Everything was good with coach Sherman and coach Sumlin came in and he's pretty serious about winning, so I think that in the next couple of years, A&M is going to take some big strides and I'm looking forward to being a part of it," Stewart said.
After running a pro-style system under former coach Mike Sherman, who had significant ties to the NFL, Stewart is getting ready to run Sumlin's Airraid system, which the coach used at his former stop in Houston and has been used successfully by other coaches like Mike Leach and Dana Holgorsen. Stewart sees it as a great fit for his skillset.
"It fits me perfect," he said. "We're pretty much running the same thing. We've watched some film together when I came up back during the spring, film of UH and what they're thinking about doing and I think that I fit perfectly. Case Keenum and the way that he ran that, I'm going to try to do what he did. He had a great career and if they can mold me into that type of guy, I definitely look forward to it."
With talented young receivers like juniors Demetri Martin and Bryan Newman, the former a big threat on the outside and the latter a shifty slot receiver, Stewart believes the offense will be highly productive this season.
"I mean a lot of our receivers will have a breakout season in our offense. We have Demetri and we have a kid named Bryan Newman, who is class of 2014, and both of those guys are going to put some numbers up this year. I think whoever comes and is interested in them will get some steals, because they're two pretty good football players."
The prodigious passing skills possessed by Stewart should make it easy on those receivers, but the strong-armed quarterback had a different take.
"Oh, they're going to make it easy on me, for sure," he said with a politic answer that suggests he's already prepared for SEC Media Days.
Of course, the major question mark surrounding Stewart for some time has been whether he will even make it to campus to play football in Aggieland. A pitcher who can reach the mid-90s with his fastball, he had a clear message for those still concerned that he'll opt for the major leagues instead of slinging pigskins in the SEC.
"I think that I'm going to look pretty good in maroon and white playing in Bluebell Park -- that's all I gotta say."
The true reckoning will come when the 2013 MLB Draft goes down but, for now, Kyle Field and the aforementioned Bluebell Park await.