Sophomore Offensive Guard, Chris “The Planet” Stewart is apparently transferring. We were going to wait until an official press release was, uh, released, but the cat seems pretty well out of the bag, so… If we’re wrong, oops!
Now, some people are going to start yelling and screaming about losing our 3rd kid to transfer in about as many weeks in the middle of the season. Those people should be avoided at times of war or at cocktail parties. They’re Debbie Downers and Chicken Littles. And, perhaps worse, they’re myopic.
The fact is, we’re actually starting to build some depth in particular positions. Demetrius Jones certainly seems like he wants to start, but now that Clausen has the starting position, he’d have been relegated to back-up/special circumstances play. Reuland, though reportedly leaving because he just wasn’t happy at Notre Dame, was the 4th tight end on the roster and facing 2 highly recruited tight ends coming onto the squad next year. And now Stewart finds himself stuck at the bottom of a depth chart so badly he didn’t even make it on the bus for Penn State (not sure about Michigan).
Notre Dame fans are going to have to grow accustomed to this. A ton has changed in the world of College Football even since the Lou Holtz days. We’re going to have a lot of talented kids who, if they can’t get on the field at ND, will realize that a lot of other teams across the country have some television coverage and a few obsessive fans writing blogs. ND hasn’t had to deal with this too much because, really, we didn’t have that much depth anywhere until recently.
Take a look at Southern Cal’s recent transfer rates. It will actually probably really surprise you because, except for the case of Moody, hardly anyone noticed. Why? Because Southern Cal is already so deep, it really doesn’t matter.
And in a year or two, that’ll be the case for ND as well. Charlie and his staff are quickly getting ND back into “reload” mode. I don’t think we’re really been there for 10+ years. Charlie wont admit it, but this season has been a “rebuilding year” for ND, but it could very well be Charlie’s last. As long as Weis keeps recruiting like he has, it really will be “next guy up.”
I suspect we’ll see a lot more of these sophomores who see little or no chance of playing at ND transfer to other schools in the years to come. One of the real problems with that is ND doesn’t typically accept transfers from other schools, so while we can lose out in this current scenario, we can’t really benefit from players at other schools wanting to transfer to ND. Another problem seems to be that ND players earn what is considered by many schools to be an “associate’s degree” by the end of the summer after their freshman year, thus allowing them to use a loophole in the NCAA rules that would otherwise be unavailable. We’ll explain that more once we understand it fully ourselves.
In summary, don’t freak out.
All that said, we’re bummed because we’re always bummed when a good kid chooses not to be a part of the ND family any longer. Personally I really liked Chris from what I knew of him in interviews and the recruiting process.
Good luck, Chris.