"I'm definitely excited to compete with the Texas boys," said 2014 defensive lineman Peyton Newell of Hiawatha, Kan. "You definitely know where you are, and where you stand in the country if you can play well against Texas competition. So I'm excited to see how I compare."
In the numbers part of a combine, Newell has already proven to be among the top players to watch in the country. Checking in at 270 pounds, Newell consistently clocks in the 4.8-second range in the 40-yard dash, and has run as fast as 4.79. Newell has already proven his athleticism for his size, and he said the goal now was to work on winning all of his head-to-head matchups. The eventual goal is to get invited to the Junior Rank combine around Christmas, and earn and invite to the Semper Fidelis all-star game.
Newell is no stranger to playing in all-star games. In fact, he first burst onto the scenes as an eighth-grader taking part in the Eastbay Youth All-American game the day before the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
And he has the attention to match. Despite the fact that he's yet to finish up his sophomore year of school, Newell has offers from TCU, Iowa, Baylor and Illinois, and said he would probably have "eight-to-10 more offers in the next few weeks." In fact, shortly after talking with this site for an interview, Newell picked up an offer from UCLA.
"People are definitely recruiting me mostly as a defensive lineman," Newell said. "But some people want me as an outside linebacker. I don't really have a preference, other than probably end or linebacker."
Newell is hearing from every school in the Big 12, and said pretty much every school in the Big 10 was also stepping up to the plate.
"As of right now, I'm just keeping my options open," Newell said. "I'm just sitting back and seeing who wants me to play for their program, and I'm going to base my decision off that.
"I want to see who has been there for me," Newell said. "And I also want a school with strong academics."
Newell's flight down to Houston is part of a busy summer schedule that will includes stops at Stanford, Oklahoma State and Missouri for camps, and he plans to visit Illinois, Nebraska, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech. Newell's emergence, along with that of top offensive tackle Braden Smith, has some people already labeling the 2014 class as one for the ages in the state of Kansas, and Newell said he hoped he, Smith and 2014 running back Travon Wrench could bring attention to the state's talent.
"I haven't actually gotten to meet Braden yet, but all the talk in Kansas seems to be about me and him and Travon," Newell said. "I'm excited to see what kind of attention we can get, and if we can show people the kind of talent that Kansas has."
Top schools from around the region, and around the country, would do well to take notice.