TCU checks in on Kansas DL

In the far northeast corner of Kansas sits the tiny town of Hiawatha, home of the Red Hawks. Despite a population just over 3,000, Hiawatha could be home to the top prospect from the Sunflower State; Peyton Newell.

In the far northeast corner of Kansas sits the tiny town of Hiawatha, home of the Red Hawks. Despite a population just over 3,000, Hiawatha could be home to the top prospect from the Sunflower State; Peyton Newell. One thing should be noted; Newell will only be a junior in the fall.

The 2014 prospect is already a well known name in recruiting circles thanks to his outstanding performances at various camps. Last July Newell won combine king, defensive line MVP and strongest man at the National Underclassmen Ultimate 100 Combine in California.

Newell's impressive performance from the camp transitioned nicely onto the gridiron his sophomore season. From his defensive end position, Newell registered 74 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 6 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. For good measure he also blocked 4 extra points and 1 punt. He was named to class 4A all-state teams in both the Topeka Capital Journal and Wichita Eagle as a defensive lineman.

Newell's doesn't just shine on the defensive side of the ball. On offense from his tight end position, he caught 12 passes for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Did we mention he's already 6-foot-3, 270-pounds with 4.8 speed? It's no surprise Newell is receiving early interest from colleges coast to coast.

"All Big 12 schools, especially Oklahoma State and Iowa State are showing interest. Iowa is showing some interest, we went up there a few weeks ago. I've gotten some letters from Boston College, South Carolina, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech. Stanford actually called my head coach last week and wanted me to come out for a camp. UCLA also, it's all spread across the country," Newell said.

One school that has showed high interest in Newell is TCU. The Frogs have had success landing players from Kansas, including last year's top prospect Tyler Matthews. Dan Sharp was at Hiawatha on Wednesday to check on Newell.

"My head coach told me that they told him how interested they are in me and what they could see me playing at TCU," Newell said. "They're definitely interested in me and want me to come down this summer for a camp. This is the first time they've come up to the school."

Newell says TCU's move to the Big 12 and family nearby makes the school an intriguing destination.

"The school really interests me, I have family down there and I would love to play in front of them. I definitely like how close my family is," Newell said. "I also like how the head coach is from Kansas and also being in the Big 12 will definitely bring some good competition to play against."

It could be assumed that a prospect from Kansas would list Kansas or Kansas State as a favorite, especially Newell who has seen plenty of games up close, however, Newell is keeping an open mind in his recruitment once offers start flowing his way.

"Not really as of now, I'm definitely keeping my options open for the right school to come along," he answered when asked if he had any schools standing out.

The state of Kansas has seen an increase in the number of players who are receiving D-1 scholarship offers and not just from the two in-state programs. Newell says players are eager to prove that it doesn't take a player from bigger states to play major college football.

"I know a lot of them, like me, just want to prove that a division one athlete can come out of Kansas and be successful; you don't have to be from Texas, California or Florida to play on that level," Newell said. "That's the way I look at it. I know a lot of coaches have come to Kansas high schools to coach and try to turn the programs around. It's definitely looking good for (the state of) Kansas right now."

Newell didn't hesitate when asked what his key factors will be when choosing a program.

"I'm definitely looking at the academics because I have a 3.95 GPA so academics are definitely important to me. Also, a place with really good facilities and I want to play for a team and a coaching staff that wants to win," Newell finished.


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