At the beginning of the year there weren't a lot of people outside of Louisville that had heard of Brandon Newman (6-foot-1, 300 pounds), but that has certainly changed. Scout.com recently released their player rankings for the 2008 recruiting class and Newman was listed as the No. 6 defensive tackle in the country.
"I know there are a lot of good players out there, but it's a great honor," Newman responded when asked about his lofty ranking. "I'm real humble about stuff like that, but I'm blessed to get any honor. I always try to work hard and be the best that I can. I just try to do what I'm supposed to do on the field and help my team win. It is a real honor. I never expected that I would be ranked that high."
The Irish coaches are building a special recruiting class. Beyond talent, this recruiting class will be special because of the bond the recruits are developing a full year before they report to Notre Dame. Just recently a number of the committed players converged on South Bend.
"I went up to Notre Dame just before their camp," Newman said. "I didn't work out at the camp, but I hung out with John Goodman, Braxston Cave, Mike Golic, Mike Floyd, Sean Cwynar, and Robert Blanton. I met Ethan Johnson right before I left. He seemed like a good guy. I think everyone has a good personality. Everyone is on the same page and has the same mindset. I'm hoping to get back up to Notre Dame, so I can hang out with those guys as much as possible."
Although Brandon has his eye on his future teammates, he is still committed to his current teammates.
"Right now I'm working out and trying to run as much as possible to get in shape or my season," Brandon explained. "We play Indianapolis Cathedral the first game of the season. The game is going to be played at Warren Central [High School].
"I'm working out at my high school and trying to do as much as possible. I'm focusing on endurance, my agility and my footwork. I'm not doing any long distance work. I'm just sprinting the length of the field, back and forth. We call them ‘gasers'. As far as lifting goes, I'm working on my arms and legs. I'm also working on my core. Mostly I'm trying to work on my endurance and agility, because I'm might have to go both ways this year, and I want to make sure that I'm in shape."
Brandon's primary position his senior year will be along the defensive line, but he will be utilized on offense as well.
"Last season I'd play offensive guard if we had a short-yardage situation," Newman said. "The quarterback would just do a sneak right behind our center and me. The last four games of last season, I had to play offensive tackle. I ended up being named all-district on the offensive line just from those games. I'm a pretty good blocker. I actually like blocking as much as I do tackling."