Coaches Corner: Tim Benkert - Westlake High

When you ask a high school football coach about what his star player is like off the field, it's not uncommon for him to pull out the "if I had a daughter, this is the kind of young man I'd want her to marry" cliché. But when you ask Westlake High School (Westlake Village, Calif.) coach Tim Benkert that question about linebacker Greg Newman, he just chuckles.

"He is a football player — on, off or in between (the field)," Benkert says. "He's a kid that lives to play football."

The picture Benkert paints starts to look like the Buffs got themselves a character — the kind you want on your team, especially at the linebacker position, where Newman will try and distinguish himself among a long line of colorful Colorado linebackers.

Westlake is one of the better football programs in Southern California, and Newman is one of eight seniors from his team who is likely to sign a letter of intent to play at a Division I college Feb. 4.

This past season Newman helped Westlake to an unblemished 14-0 record, and a 28-6 win over St. Bonaventure in the California Southern Section Division IV championship game. Westlake finished the year ranked No. 1 in their division, and ranked No. 3 overall in the entire state.

Newman was recruited by CU offensive line coach Dave Borbely and pledged to the Buffs back in December. Newman had offers from Arizona State, Colorado State, Fresno State and Utah, and one West Coast recruiting guru called him one of the most underrated players in California this year.

"He could have gone anywhere in the nation," Benkert said.

Newman ended the year with 120 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. He's been timed at 4.7 in the 40, benches 315 and squats 405 — numbers that are sure to go upwards once he gets to Boulder and gets into strength coach Greg Finnegan's program.

"He's an impressive player. He's a three-year starter. He started out as a defensive lineman as a sophomore, and started at middle linebacker the past two years," Benkert continued. "He was on the all-state team this year. He's a first team all-CIF, on the CIF all-Super Team.

"Colorado got themselves one helluva football player," Benkert assured.

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