Denton (Texas) Guyer cornerback Josh Stewart had been to the Texas A&M campus in recent years to visit his cousin Lionel Smith, a defensive back on the football team, and also to play in the state 7-on-7 championships. He had such good memories of his visits and followed the Aggies so closely that, when the A&M staff offered him in February, it only took a few days to commit.
The Aggies wanted to get the 5-foot-10, 163-pound Stewart back to the College Station campus as soon as possible and they issued an invitation for him to attend one of A&M's spring practices. He did so last week and the experience reminded him of why he committed in the first place.
"It was pretty good," Stewart said. "It was everything that I thought it would be. The best part was that I got to meet a lot of people that I'll be playing with in the future."
The people that Stewart visited with included a diverse group ranging from inside linebackers coach and his area recruiter Dat Nguyen to fellow 2011 cornerback prospect Jalen Brown of Irving MacArthur. However, he spent most of his time with a signee in the 2010 class and the two of them talked about what great things they could do at A&M.
"Toney Hurd was the main one that I talked to," Stewart said. "We could be the next great cornerback duo. We're going to have to have that bond and pick each other up. We're going to be shut-down cornerbacks. We'll get the whole defense back to where it used to be."
One of the people that Stewart grew close to during his recruitment was Nguyen and the two conversed almost daily via email. However, it wasn't until the unofficial visit that they met for the first time.
"It was the first time that I had seen him since I committed," Stewart said. "We didn't really talk about family. It was more about how much I will like it when I get down there. He liked the coaching staff. They not only worry about football but they deal with helping them out not just in football but in life too. Everything is laid back and they have a lot of focus on grades.
"He told us a lot about himself from his career at A&M. We talked about the future and how I would have a chance to start my first year. He said that if you can play, you're going to be on the field. He said to come in ready. He said how much he enjoyed playing, that he was always a hard-nosed player. He always knew the play before it was called. He was a real smart football player."
Stewart also talked with his future position coach, Charles McMillian.
"He told us about his life, how he was from Bryan," Stewart said of McMillian. "It was a lot like the same things that Dat was saying. He said that they were short on cornerbacks and liked that I'm going to be able play in an A&M uniform."
Stewart did a little recruiting of his own while on the visit.
"I was just telling Jalen what to look forward to in the future if he committed there," he said. "We got Hurd and he played in the Under Armour game. He is basically going to be the elder guy because he's older. We can be lock down the secondary and be the best secondary in the NCAA. I'm just thinking big."
In the midst of all of the conversations that Stewart had, it might be easy to forget that there was a practice going on. However, he says he followed every aspect and paid particular attention to the skill positions.
"It was a pretty cool experience watching their practice," he said. "Everything was fast, just how I like it. I watched the secondary and receivers. I watched what they like to do in A&M's offense but mainly I watched the cornerbacks. It's different than what we do in high school. It's mostly press coverage, which is what I enjoy."