What’s goin on?
I trust you all saw my tweets this morning about Graham Stewart, the Florida reserve linebacker and former Xavier-Middletown star told me by phone he was transferring to UConn. Stewart was in South Carolina when we spoke.
A quick refresher on Stewart: stud linebacker at Xavier who allowed us here a first-hand, inside look at how he was handling the recruiting process; had UConn at the top of his list but committed Boston College. When an offer opened up at Florida, the school he really liked the most at the time, that was it. He played in 12 games for the Gators on special teams and picked up a blocked punt and raced it in for a touchdown in the Gator Bowl.
“Man, you know what? I’m so excited and happy. This is the most excited and happy I’ve been in awhile,” Stewart said when asked about coming back home to play.
Stewart said his decision is final, no one else is getting involved. He is scheduled to visit UConn, unofficially, next week to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts on this but there shouldn’t be any reason why the transfer won’t go through.
The issue issue is whether Stewart will be able to get a hardship waiver to play this season which he wants to do.
You see, Stewart decided to leave Florida after one season for personal reasons, he said, required he be close to home. He reiterated that Saturday (Stewart is all about his family so him transferring to be closer to them isn’t really a surprise).
Now, to be clear, these hardship waivers are awfully hard to get – but not impossible.
From the good deeds department Florida coach Will Muschamp, looking out for the kid, has already written a letter to the NCAA on his behalf. Now Stewart is going to have write to the governing body of college athletics also – and UConn will have to write one as well to help Stewart’s cause.
“I’m hoping, keeping my fingers crossed,” Stewart said.
In the event the waiver doesn’t happen it’s still a win-win for Stewart. He’ll be at home and be a redshirt sophomore when he is eligible in 2013.
Allright let’s hear from Graham.
On leaving Florida:
“Actually it’s something that’s out of my hands. It’s something back home I need to take care of and be there for my family, help them out a little bit more, so I mean I just need to be closer to home,” Stewart said. “It would solve a lot of problems. I was having a great time down there, was doing really well but some things are more important sometimes and you have to re-evaluate what you’re really doing somewhere.”
Everybody at home ok?
“Yeah everybody’s allright. Everybody goes through their little struggles but they’re allright. You know, I missed them. It was hard for them to come to a lot of stuff [at Florida]. I know it was hard on them…”
Were you happy at UF?
“No,” Stewart said flatly. “It wasn’t about playing time or anything. I think just being homesick and stuff like that. I’m a patient guy so it wasn’t about playing time. I had some stuff having to deal with my family that made me feel like being up there would be best; to be closer and help out with things that were going on..”
On what it will mean to be playing college ball at home:
“It feels great to be back home where I’ll be able to have my parents at games, see them afterward, going out to eat with them. It just feels good, you know?”