Under the Radar...Rice's Samuel Stewart

It's easy to follow the Power 5's, the Alabama's, Clemson's, and Ohio State's of the world. You'll hear about Heisman candidates, they'll all come from those schools, they're the poster boys for college football. But college football is more than the syndicate that is the Power 5. It's also full of great, talented players with great stories. At the Roundup we want to introduce you to under the radar Texas players that if you don't know, you should. We'd like you to meet Samuel Stewart, running back from Rice. 

Measurables

Samuel Stewart

5'9, 205 RS Junior  

Cypress Woods High School

Awards and Stats

  • Played in just five games in 2016. 
  • Led Rice in rushing yards and receiving touchdowns.
  • Tied for the team lead with 6 total touchdowns. 
  • Second on the 2016 Owls in All-Purpose Yards.
  • CUSA All-Freshman Selection in 2015. 
  • As a RS Freshman rushed for 130 yards vs. Texas in Austin. 

Background

Samuel Stewart at Cy Woods

Samuel Stewart's issue hasn't been what he does on the field, his problem has been staying there. As a high school back out of Cy Woods High School in Northwest Houston, Stewart was contributor on the field for almost three seasons. He would have been even more productive were it not for injuries. As a sophomore, Stewart arrived on the scene at Woods to the tune of nearly 1,200 yards of total offense and thirteen touchdowns. He entered his junior season as one of the top players in the city of Houston and colleges were taking note. Then the injury bug hit and Stewart only managed 37 carries and less than 300 yards his junior season. 

Stewart made up for lost time as a senior rushing for 247 yards against Cy Lakes and 734 total rushing yards with thirteen touchdowns. Stewart also managed 30 catches for over 400 yards and five touchdowns. For his career at Cy Woods Stewart registered 36 touchdowns and over 2,700 all purpose yards. With offers from Mississippi State, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Duke, and Iowa State among others, Stewart stayed close to home and signed with the Owls. 

Why you should know him

After a redshirt 2014 season Stewart and the Owls traveled to Austin to take on a vulnerable Longhorn team in what the Owls hoped would be their first win in Austin since 1965. It didn't happen but Stewart erupted with a 130 yard, two remarkable touchdown performance including a SportsCenter Top 10 dive into the end zone. 

Stewart's reckless abandon and never say die running style hasn't helped his injury proclivity. While Stewart played in eleven of the Owls' twelve games in 2015, his 2016 didn't go as smoothly. Stewart was limited to just five full games due to injuries. 

Samuel Stewart (Leslie Plaza Johnson, Chron.com

When Stewart is on the field you notice a few very useful skills including hi ability to run between the tackles. The tackle box is a bar fight where half or more of the participants are trying to decapitate one guy, the guy with the ball. Running in space is fun, you get to high step and style, juke guys, turn on the burners. But running between the tackles is where dudes live. Stewart, in spite of or perhaps because of his diminutive stature, is able to find cracks and crevices and yards. He's also pretty good at finishing runs and punishing tacklers. Stewart averaged a team best 6.3 yards per carry last season. 

Stewart's real gift is in pass catching. In the college game, backs that can catch are a valuable commodity. Stewart gives the Owls a real pass catching option out of the backfield and that can be a matchup nightmare for defensive coordinators. In limited duty, less than 6 full games, Stewart had fifteen catches with three receiving touchdowns. 

In 2016 Stewart made a brief appearance in the opener at Western Kentucky before missing the next three games. He then had three very productive outings against Southern Miss, UTSA, and Prairie View. In those three games, Stewart rushed for a combined 325 yards at 6.9 yards a carry and caught 11 balls at 7.7 yards a catch. He also cashed in six touchdowns, three rushing and three receiving. A week later the injury bug caught up to Stewart against Louisiana Tech. He would miss most of the next four games. Stewart came back to form against Stanford in Palo Alto with 77 rushing yards at almost 6 yards a pop.  

In just sixteen games Stewart has scored twelve touchdowns, seven rushing and five receiving. If Samuel Stewart can find a way to stay on the field, he should be one of the best all-purpose backs in the FBS. That's why you should get to know him. 

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Posted on March 17, 2017 and filed under Rice, Southwest Round-Up.