He's an option quarterback from Texas of smaller stature but big courage and lightning quick agility. He plays only rare emergency situations in the defensive backfield because the team cannot afford to wear him out or unnecessarily put him in harm's way, for fear the offense could completely crumble in his absence. Smooth hips and light on his feet, he has an athletic package to match his academic focus and laudable leadership.
Fresh off the 2004 recruiting class, that sounds like a summary of San Antonio athlete Carlos McFall, who signed earlier this month and will help the Cardinal defensive backfield at free safety and/or cornerback the next four to five years. But I am talking about another Lone Star student-athlete, from about 250 miles further north up I-35. In the cornerback class of 2005, we turn our attention to Dallas dandy Barry Newell, who is a star option QB from renowned private school St. Mark's School of Texas.
In their two-back veer offense, Newell threw for 1,269 yards on 102-of-171 passing, scoring 10 touchdowns versus four interceptions. On the ground, he ran the ball 70 times (including sacks) for 404 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named All-SPC at quarterback as a junior and All-SPC at cornerback as a sophomore. For those not familiar with private school competition in Texas, the Southwest Preparatory Conference is an association of 18 top private schools in Texas and Oklahoma.
"I love his intelligence and his decision making," says St. Mark's head coach Hayward Lee of his quarterback. "I have a lot of confidence in letting him make the right decisions at the line of scrimmage."
Newell played just four quarters of football this past fall at cornerback, stretched across two games, and those instances came out of pure emergency need. The Lions had three sophomores starting in the defensive backfield, and when the green sieve machine allowed too many plays, Coach Lee had to put Newell in the game.
"Coach was really reluctant to put me back there," Newell comments. He then jokingly asks me, "Did you convince him to play me more back there?"
"We didn't use him enough on defense," Lee laments. "Only because everything we run on offense runs through him. We just can't afford to have him tired from playing defense."
If there is one change to expect for the coming 2004 season at St. Mark's for the rising senior star, it will be an introduction of a more spread offense. "I've been begging for it," the enthusiastic Newell comments.
But at 6'0" and 170 pounds, there is no quarterbacking future for Newell in Division I football, though. He understands that his college playing days will come at cornerback, and that is also the consensus opinion of a number of schools who are giving him early recruiting attention. He is already hearing from Stanford, Iowa, Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, SMU, TCU, the Ivies and more.
"He has great feet and great hips," says Lee of Newell's cornerback projected talents. "He's very good adjusting to the ball in the air and very intelligent. He understands coverages and how to read the quarterback's eyes. Barry can anticipate where the ball is going to go, because he understands offense as a quarterback. And I just love his competitiveness. Barry is not a very big specimen, but he plays very aggressive."
"My early favorites right now are Stanford, UCLA, Iowa, UT and A&M," Newell declares. "But I also want to check out the Ivies. I haven't really explored that option, which I want to do a lot more in the future."
The Mesquite resident took an unofficial visit to The Farm last November to watch the Big Game against rival Cal, and he has had both Tom Williams and Buddy Teevens at his school talking with his head coach.
"They are my number one," Newell says of the Cardinal. "I just have always liked them because they combine good athletics and academics, which are my top two reasons for choosing a college."
The St. Mark's standout student-athlete carries a 3.4 GPA in the classroom today and says he has a pair of 88% grades in classes he is working to push to A's. Newell scored an 1150 on the PSAT and has just started taking SAT prep classes. He will take both the ACT and SAT this spring, though currently he is deciding how to fit those test dates around the Texas A&M Nike Camp on May 1. That Saturday is also a prime SAT testing morning.
"From what I have been told, as long as I keep my grades up and score well on the SAT," Newell explains. "I have a good chance of being offered by Stanford late spring or early summer. I've called Coach Williams a few times the last few weeks, just to talk about the process of getting into Stanford - how athletes have to make all the deadlines everyone else does. We've also talked about playing two sports there."
Barry Newell has also enjoyed a strong youth and prep career in baseball and projects as a high level centerfielder. He unfortunately did not play last year due to an injured shoulder, but he says he plans on camping at Stanford this summer for baseball as well as football.
"I feel I could play on that team quickly if I continue to develop," he says of Stanford Baseball. "I could be completely out of my mind, but I think I could. I guess I'll see at the camp if I have what it takes. I think I do, but it's good to get out there and compete."
Another person with whom Newell has spoken about Stanford is fellow Mesquite resident Pannel Egboh, who just signed earlier this month as a tight end/defensive end for the football team.
"He goes to school with my best friend," the St. Mark's junior explains of their friendship. "And we've played basketball together for four years. He's been trying to convince me I should go to Stanford, but nothing big."
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