FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Junior defensive end Jashaud Stewart has waited patiently for his time for extended action and it appears the wait is nearly over.
The talented Jonesboro standout is 6-foot-2, 251-pounds so not big by SEC defensive end standards. But Stewart is someone offensive tackles will have to deal with this fall. At Jonesboro rumors had it they had to hold Stewart back some in practice or he would wreck the offense pretty often with his relentless pressure.
“Yes sir,” Stewart said. “I feel like if I don’t go 100 percent, I’m just letting my teammates down. I just feel like if I don’t stay going full speed in everything, I won’t be satisfied when I come off the field because I know I’ll be letting somebody down if I’m not going 100 percent and being my best. You know what I’m saying? That keeps me going.”
He has played in 21 games in two seasons with one start. He has seven tackles, four solo, and a quarterback hurry. Stewart, Zach Williams, Eric Thomas Jr. and Eric Gregory (when not playing inside) have been joined by Georgia Tech’s Jordan Domineck and LSU’s Landon Jackson at defensive end. He talked about the pair of transfers and how they are doing.
“I feel like they’re doing pretty good,” Stewart said. “I feel like we’re all just really, you know Deke Adams is a new face to all of us. Landon and the other one, the other defensive end. Jordan. You got me choked up a bit there for a second. We’re all learning different things and we are all coming together pretty smooth.”
Redshirt senior defensive tackle Isaiah Nichols is considered the leader of the line. Stewart acknowledged that as well.
“Yes sir,” Nichols said. “That guy right there, even through summer workouts and fall workouts, he’s the main one speaking like ‘Hey, let’s pick the tempo up,’ if we’re slacking. He’s just doing the best he can to be a leader to us. I look up to that guy.”
As a junior, Stewart feels he’s prepared for what the season will bring and talked about running with the first unit.
“Well, I feel ready,” Stewart said. “I just feel like during the preparation, just trying to do my job. It helped me a lot, learning from our other teammates. They believe and really helped me with this transition of running with the ones.”
Stewart talked about what he did to earn the additional reps and eventually land on the first team.
“I’d say how I changed a lot was by getting a little bit bigger,” Stewart said. “After last season, my sophomore season, I was like 235 and I bulked up to like 250. I gained weight, then Coach (Deke) Adams coming in teaching different techniques, it just made me a better player.”
Adams is the third different defensive line coach for Stewart since he arrived from Jonesboro. Stewart talked about Adams as a d-line coach.
“He’s going to be on you, but at the same time, he’s going to teach you about life,” Stewart said. “We’re not just watching film. We watch film, but we talk off the field stuff too about family, different other things after football. We don’t just talk about football. Then, he’ll be joking with you one minute, then the next minute you mess up a little bit and he’ll be like, ‘come on, you’re better than that.’ He’s always on you, he always wants you to be better. He’s good at just motivating you.”
Beginning Thursday, the Razorbacks will start working specifically on Cincinnati. That will continue through next week leading up to the Sept. 3 season opener.
“I’m just excited about it, working toward Cincinnati,” Stewart said. “We’re going against each other a lot, but I feel like I’m ready for Week 1 and when we go against Cincinnati. I’m ready to start prepping.”
Stewart is known as a Razorback who has a lot of heart and plays with great effort. He talked about why those traits are important to him.
“I really just care about my teammates,” Stewart said. “Ever since junior high, high school, just building those relationships. I really do it for them, me and my family. So, that’s where it comes from.”
Stewart shared the podium after practice with junior offensive lineman Ty’Kieast Crawford. They both laughed when asked if they ever go against each other?
“We’re roommates too, so but yeah, I say,” Stewart said. “I’d say with Ty, once he gets his hands on you it’s pretty hard to get him off. I feel like he’s pretty good with his feet. He’s getting pretty good at like pass protection.”
Arkansas will return to the practice fields tomorrow as noted to start game preparation for the Bearcats.