Illinois wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker tried to fool Cedar Hill (Texas) safety Josh Newman before he delivered some good news.
"At first he was playing with me acting like he didn't know me and everything, and we started laughing and talking," Newman said. "Then he said they would like to offer me and started talking about a visit with my other teammates this summer."
The Illini scholarship offer is the first for Newman, a 6-foot-1, 194-pound defensive back who runs a 4.54 40-yard dash.
"When (Hayes-Stoker) hung up I started screaming and running around," Newman said.
Hayes-Stoker noticed Newman when he visited Cedar Hill earlier a month ago for a spring practice. The Illini -- who also have offered Cedar Hill's wide receiver Camron Buckley and Dimitri Moore -- made sure Newman visited their satellite camp at Lancaster, not far from Cedar Hill, last week. Newman left enough of an impression on head coach Lovie Smith to earn his approval and the scholarship offer.
Newman said Tulane and Iowa State also are trying to get him to attend their camps. But the Illini seem to have a head start since they offered first.
"Man it means everything," Newman said. "It makes me feel a lot for them because they were the first. I'm going to always have the first one to think about, and I love the coaching staff. Coach Lovie is doing a great job with his staff they're all really good guys and they know how to build relationships."
"Newman possesses an excellent size/speed combination for the safety position. In fact, he could potentially play a 4-2-5 in-the-box safety or a "spacebacker" role at the next level. At The Opening Dallas in mid-March, Newman measured 6-foot-1, 194 pounds with a laser-timed 4.54. In my opinion, he is one of the top sleepers in Dallas-Fort Worth." - Gabe Brooks, Scout.com Texas recruiting analyst