Kevin Newsome, QB (6-foot-2, 225 pounds)
Kevin Newsome, Gerald Hodges, Ty Howle and Anthony Fera are the most recent in a long line of early enrollees for Penn State; a group of players that includes Michael Mauti, Brandon Beachum, Justin King, Dan Connor, and Derrick Williams.
If there was one position in dire, if not desperate need of reinforcements this coming season, it was the quarterback position. With veteran starter Daryll Clark in his senior year and backup Pat Devlin heading off to Delaware, the position saw limited depth with Matt McGloin as the sole underclassman on the roster. That is until Newsome made his pledge after reconsidering his initial decision to go to Ann Arbor.
Out of the gate this spring Newsome has primarily seen second team reps and has been penciled in as the backup to Clark. "He's got a lot to pickup in short order, but he and Daryll appear to be pretty tight already. They both have pretty outgoing personalities. D has been working with Newsome and that should help him move along quickly," an observer explained.
Approach: Described as "fun to be around," Newsome "seems pretty level-headed." Since he arrived on campus in January Newsome has worked extensively with Clark to pick up the playbook and "understand the scheme." Said to be "anxious to excel," he "needs to relax sometimes and realize that things come with repetition." Perhaps the most commented on aspect of Newsome's approach, aside from his personality, is his competitiveness. "He really hates to lose."
Mobility: Newsome "is big, but can move," according to one observer. This off-season he has posted posted 4.5-range 40-yard dashes and "pretty consistent footwork in his agility runs." Currently he is working on his drop-backs and sets in the pocket. "It's just getting in a rhythm and making the steps second nature."
Arm: Showing an arm that is said to be "solid" and "strong," Newsome has shown the ability to "place the ball" and "put some velocity on it." As one observer said, "I think he has pretty good delivery. The drills are helping him and I expect he'll get better as he gets comfortable." Newsome has a tendency to periodically "short arm" some passes and "force some balls," but observers feel that will improve with reps. "He's just got to follow-through his release on every pass and trust his motion."
Improvement: Aside from shoring up the consistency of his ball delivery, he is working on his fundamentals, including, learning the routes, making reads, running through his progression and understanding the tendencies of his wideouts. For example, "[On of the receivers] will go loose on a route before a post or cut; the faster [Newsome] picks up on something like that the better he will be able to get the ball to him," an observer said.
Impact: The consensus appears to be that Newsome has the physical tools and approach to elevate his play this off-season. With a thin quarterback unit, observers are not just hoping he will step up into the backup role, some are expecting it, saying, "He's the guy. He has to go [all out] to get to where he needs to be in the case he is needed. The good news is that he has the right attitude and is pushing to get better. The bad news is the reps to do that are limited, but every player is up against that."
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