MORE from our HomeTeam writers.
Today we turn our spotlight on Gibbs athlete Emmanuel Stewart, who comes in at No. 74 in the HomeTeam 100 (see Nos. 71-80 here).
2011 stats: 200 yards rushing, three TDs before injury
The breakdown: Gibbs coach Antonio Knox held court at the USF Sling-N-Shoot last month, enjoying a brief respite from the sun as he squeezed his large frame under a tent.
He couldn’t stop talking about his team, the potential, the 2014 class …and running back Emmanuel Stewart.
“You’re going to see,’’ he said. “Just you wait.’’
Stewart, a 5-foot-7, 160-pound junior, has been waiting since tearing his ACL in last season’s second game. He was off to a great start. After 10 months of rehab, he’s ready to pick up where he left off.
“I’ve been itching to play. I remember when I had the surgery, all I could think about was getting back,’’ Stewart said. ‘I’ve been mentally and physically preparing for this time, just to get back with my teammates and play football. Even when I was in bed, that’s all I could think about.’’
Stewart is one of those players you know about before he gets to high school. Coaches whisper. Players brag. And a link to the highlights of his youth league performances are emailed to reporters.
Though not of his doing, he hasn’t been able to live up to expectations. Knox, though, says this year will be different. He plans to use Stewart all over the field, a challenge the speedster is relishing.
“He’s going to be our focal point,’’ said Knox, who was 4-6 his first season as head coach. “He’s a different element. He’s such a dynamic kid that we want to get the ball in his hands at all times. That’s not saying other kids can’t do it, it’s just that he’s a different animal.’’