Four-star defensive tackle prospect Peyton Newell holds 34 scholarship offers. After a wild recruitment that began his sophomore year, the Hiawatha (KS) defender will cut his list to six on Saturday. Newell talks about the process, and sets a timetable for his commitment.
Four-star prospect Peyton Newell has had it with the confusion.
“I was talking to one of my buddies,” the standout defensive tackle said on Thursday. “I’m so torn right now. I have no idea where I’m going to school.”
With a staggering 34 Division 1 scholarship offers, Newell is one of the most highly-recruited players in the class of 2014. Names like Oklahoma, Nebraska, Georgia, Michigan State, Clemson, and USC have made the trip to Hiawatha High School, some several times. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound pass rusher is still stunned by how big his recruitment has gotten.
“I’m very surprised,” he said quietly. “Like I’ve said before, I remember going to the KU camp, and driving to the K-State camp after that, and praying I might get an offer from either of them.”
Newell pauses, shaking his head. “Those were my fifteenth and sixteenth offers."
Earlier this week, Newell announced his plans to cut his list to six finalists this Saturday. The message, delivered to his 10,800 followers on Twitter, means his social media audience is likely to be a bit different after this weekend.
“That’s a lot of schools to cut,” he said, shaking his head. “I’ve thought about that, and there are two sides to look at. All fans are going to be loyal to their school. You don’t want to make them mad, but you can only choose one school. I know that all the fans I will be losing, I’ll be gaining that many from the school I choose.”
“In two years, they’ll all forget about it anyway.”
Newell hails from Hiawatha, KS, a community of just over 3,000 residents located 90 miles northwest of Kansas City. The tiny town isn’t known for producing big-time college football prospects.
“I definitely get a lot more attention,” he said of the feeling around town. “With people around a small town, everybody knows everybody. We’ve had one D-1 guy, and that was in 1989. Nobody really knows what I’m going through, and how big it actually is.”
Newell’s father, Frank, has played a key role in his recruitment. After his mother passed away when he was five years old, Peyton is grateful for the time he has shared with his dad during the process.
“I couldn’t ask for a better father,” he said, smiling. “From day one, he’s been there for me. In the 17 years of being together, he’s never missed a single sporting event or school event. He keeps me humble, keeps me on my grades. I’m very thankful for him.”
After growing tired of the recruiting process, Newell has targeted August 30th as the date he will announce where he will be playing football in 2014.
“I want to show people there are bigger things out there. I want to let the community be involved, be open and let them come. I want to show people there is more out there, and you should follow your dreams.”