As many factors that can come into play with signing an elite-level recruit, sometimes it’s simple sticktoitiveness that wins out in the end.
Options for a college destination for Ryan Newsome haven’t been an issue for quite awhile.
“Ever since they offered me, they’ve stayed on me the whole time,” Scout’s No. 27-ranked wide receiver in the nation said. “I think that was pretty big because some schools waver, but they were just going to come at me no matter what. They told me I was a priority from the jump and coach (Zach) Azzanni, man, he stayed true to that ever since they’ve offered me from last year all the way up until now. He’s a man of his word and so is coach Jones. They love me over there. I went up there, loved my time down there and just liked what I saw. I feel like I was not only wanted but needed so I put those guys in there.”
Tennessee owes a tip of the hat to wide receivers coach Azzanni for his unending pursuit of the Aledo (Texas) High School star and 2014 UIL Class 5A Division I state champion.
“He’s a great guy,” Newsome said of the second-year Tennessee assistant. “He’s really involved in recruiting. Me and him have gotten really close over the past year. Of course, it’s about relationships but me and him haven’t gotten really cool. He’s a really great coach. He’s put out great receivers like Antonio Brown with him being the most duly noted. He’s got a good track record of putting out guys and he takes a lot of pride in what he does. He’s a good receiving coach and even better person. I think highly of him.”
Newsome, who plans to declare on Jan. 23, took his official visit to Knoxville on the Oct. 25-27 weekend, watching Tennessee play host to eventual Southeastern Conference champion Alabama.
That official included some impressionable conversations between Vols coaches and the speedster, including educating him on the small number of receiver weaponry they plan to sign with the 2015 class.
“Coach Azzanni, he told me they were only going to take a few guys this class,” the Scout four-star prospect and No. 193-ranked player in the 2015 class said. “I sat down and talked to coach Jones and had a heart-to-heart with him when I was at his house. He told me that they wanted me there and they were going to take me no matter what. That was big for me. After I came back from Tennessee and he told me that, just hearing it from him because this is such a big business so it’s rare to hear that. Tennessee, they told me they wanted me they’re going to take me no matter what. With the amount of receivers going down, I’m more of a need now than ever. But, they want me to come in and make an impact as a freshman. Of course that’s why they’re still recruiting me. Coach told me he didn’t bring me in to sit.”
An unofficial visit to Rocky Top this weekend — with his parents in tow — could take place this weekend.
“I think want to get back up there and see the place,” Newsome said. “Coach Butch Jones, coach Azzanni and coach Bajakian are going to be making the trip down here on the 15th to see me. So, I could possibly after that take a trip up to Knoxville. I’m not sure right now, but that’s what I want to do.”
When the family door opens again after the NCAA Dead Period, an orange-clad brigade figures to be first on the 5-foot-8 pass catcher’s doorstep.
“It means a lot,” Newsome said of coaches from Knoxville coming to him first thing. “(Azzanni) wants me. He made sure and told me on the phone right before I think the dead period started, he said, ‘Man, after this is over, we’re going to be the first ones to come down there to see you.’”
Tennessee would play Newsome as a slot receiver and returnman with occasional touches coming in the backfield.
“In my highlight film, I showcase running the ball and I did that a lot this year,” the Scout four-star prospect said. “Kind of like Pig Howard and how they use him. They feel like I’m more of a pure slot receiver. They kind of had to mold him when he came in, but they feel like I’m real pure at what I do.”