Tyler Newsome approaches every day with the innocent wonderment of a child gathering information and moments to hold on to, cherishing interactions with people from all walks of life and mentally documenting each detail.
It’s all good in Newsome’s life, whether it’s a broad cross-section of musical interests, the varied geographical dots on the map his five roommates represent, his obsession in the Notre Dame weight room, or the professor who suggests making short- and long-term goals.
He’s mostly committed to his specialty – the reason he’s at Notre Dame – punting and kicking off on the gridiron. But no moment, no experience is too mundane.
The snapshots that are the unique life of Tyler Newsome are images permanently stamped in his mind.
“I love Notre Dame so much,” said Newsome, Notre Dame’s red-shirt sophomore punter. “Notre Dame is always going to be Notre Dame without me. I’m just trying to make the most out of Notre Dame while I have it.”
Newsome certainly made the most of his first full-time opportunity as Notre Dame’s starting punter and kickoff man in 2015 after preserving a year of eligibility behind Kyle Brindza in ’14.
He averaged 44.5 yards per his 55 punts, including a 52.4-yard average on five attempts versus UMass, which established a Notre Dame single-game record.
As the kickoff man, five attempts that slipped out of bounds weighed heavily on his mind throughout the off-season, as did the rare miss-hits on punts against Clemson (it was, after all, a downpour that night) and Temple.
Nothing is lost on Newsome.
“I love improving myself across all aspects of life, whether it’s athletically or academically,” said Newsome, a Carrollton, Ga. native. “I’m a big goal-setter. I write all my goals down on my mirror. I have daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, five-week goals, season goals, long-term goals…”
Newsome credits his Notre Dame management professor for offering a system to fine-tune his goals, which includes a daily phone call to a family member.
“They’re all on my mirror, they’re all over the place, in my locker…” said Newsome of his list of goals. “Wherever I go, I’m constantly reminded of it.”
It is this unbridled passion for, well, everything, that endears all who come in contact with Newsome. They may call him quirky or in his own head or just plain different. No one, however, can say he doesn’t grasp life with both hands and squeeze out every drop.
“I’m just living life to the fullest and trying to make the most of the opportunity I’ve been blessed with,” said Newsome a Marketing major with a minor in (environmental) sustainability.
“I like working with people. Being able to broadcast yourself and helping people broadcast what they believe in is something I could really succeed at.”
His success on the gridiron, however, will almost undoubtedly lead to a career on the professional football fields in the NFL, although Newsome is quick to point out that he enters the 2016 season with three years of eligibility remaining.
He’d rather live in the moment than look down the road.
Newsome had at least one punt of 50 yards in 10 of 13 games last season, including a career-best 62-yarder in his second game on the job – at Virginia last September.
He’s a stickler for the details, which means hang time reigns supreme on punts and kickoffs. It’s an obsession.
“It should be a realistic goal,” says an earnest Newsome when asked if he believes every attempt should be perfect. “I hold myself to a standard. I don’t want to let the team down because that really compromises the defense.
“I know fourth down is technically an offensive play, but I look at it as the first play of the defense. If we put the ball on the five-yard-line, the defense is going out there confident, knowing they’re about to stop those guys and hit ‘em right in the mouth.”
And yet Newsome knows his place and the comparative value of his skill.
“Punting is something I love to do, but if I’m not on the field, that’s a good thing,” Newsome said. “I love seeing first downs a little more than I love punting.”
Newsome truly considers himself part of the defense when he punts or kicks off. He was credited with four tackles in ’15, although again, he’s quick to offer a critique of his missed tackles against Navy and Boston College.
In order to be better, stronger and more consistent at all aspects of his job, Newsome has become engrossed in his progress in the weight room. He doesn’t want to be known as just a punter/kickoff guy.
When he arrived at Notre Dame, he was aware of the weight room prowess of Brindza and former Irish punter Ben Turk, a compact athlete who bench-pressed 225 pounds 26 times on Pro Day.
At 6-foot-3½, 180-some pounds upon his arrival to Notre Dame – with a long mane of hair piled on top that makes him look much taller – he managed just eight reps of 225 pounds on the bench. He’s now pulled within three reps of Turk’s mark with an abundance of time to improve. He’s now a solid 210 pounds.
“I’m a football player first before a specialist,” Newsome said. “You have to have that mindset because at the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to tackle the ball carrier.”
When he’s not locked in to his football profession, he can be found fishing, listening to music ranging from John Fogerty to Tupac to a little bit of techno and rap to a whole bunch of country music with an affinity for George Strait and Alan Jackson.
“He’s from Newnan, Ga.,” said Newsome of Jackson, “which is 22 miles from Carrollton.”
Not 20 miles or 25 miles, but exactly 22. It’s all part of the life of precision, which Newsome seeks to lead. After all, five of his 84 kickoffs last season landed out of bounds.
“It’s a game of inches,” said Newsome of his kickoff miscues. “It’s just following through a little too much to the left. It’s a challenge, but there’s a reward in every challenge.”
Just another reason why Newsome is so enamored with the life that Notre Dame provides for a student-athlete.
“There’s nothing that is going to be easy at Notre Dame, whether it’s class or football,” Newsome said. “That’s what I love the most about Notre Dame. There definitely is a reward when you hit those goals.”
No day goes by without Newsome appreciating the special opportunity he’s been afforded.
“People in my class are so smart,” Newsome said. “That kind of stuff rubs off on me. I love being around those kind of guys because everybody brings something different to the table.”
Nobody provides the variety and across-the-board curiosity of Newsome.
“I’m just living life to the fullest and trying to make the most of the opportunity I’ve been blessed with,” Newsome said. “I love Notre Dame so much, I don’t want to leave anything undone.
“My mom, she always said. ‘Go after what you’re passionate about. Chase your dream. If you do what you love, the rest will fall into place. Live life to the fullest. You never know when the last day will be.’”
Every day is the first day of the rest of Tyler Newsome’s awesome life.