Four-star defensive tackle Peyton Newell committed to the Huskers on Friday, Aug. 30, at a school-wide ceremony inside the Hiawatha High School gym.
"From the very beginning, Nebraska's been in my heart," Newell said. He committed during Big Red Weekend in June and kept it quiet for the last two months.
Newell picked NU over Kansas, Kansas State and South Carolina. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder had 34 scholarship offers overall from schools including USC, Georgia, Penn State, Wisconsin and Iowa.
“I'm sure they're not very happy right now,” said Newell of KU and KSU. “But, at the end of the day, it was my decision and where I think I can reach my full potential. Nebraska's going to be that place.”
Husker defensive line coach Rick Kaczenski handled most of Newell's recruitment, and NU unofficially hosted him during June's Big Red Weekend. Newell said Kaczenski "made it a point to reach out to me at important times."
Newell, who runs a 4.8-second 40-yard dash and benches 380 pounds, finished with 61 tackles (37 of them for loss) and ten sacks in 2012 for the Class 4-A Red Hawks. He tallied 74 tackles (26 for loss) in 2011.
“It was never about accumulating offers, but seeing who's ultimately, really interested and narrow it down,” his father Frank Newell said. “A lot of schools preach family — Nebraska is family. It's the one of the few schools where everybody reached out to him. Rick Kaczenski, Terry Joseph, John Garrison. Position did not matter.”
Newell said he's ready to disprove doubters who suggest he so outclasses the competition in northeastern Kansas — Hiawatha is 18 miles from Falls City, Neb. — that he hasn't been properly tested. Those doubters include Rivals and ESPN, two of the four major recruiting services that still have Newell as a three-star prospect despite output that would suggest otherwise.
“I went to several national camps and got high marks, and I dominated at most of those,” Newell said after donning an old-school, black-and-red Nebraska hat with the Bill Byrne-preferred “Huskers” in script. He also thanked his mother, Missy, who died when he was 5 years old. “I'm definitely ready for the next level of competition.”
Newell posted this Twitter message shortly after announcing his decision:
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Photo Credit: St. Joseph News-Press
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