Vols Discover a Diamond in Coal Country

In an era of the ever shrinking scholarship the best bang for your recruiting buck is landing a player who can play more than one position on the Division-I level.

By that criteria Kyle Newell may be the best value in the Class of 2005. This premiere prospect from Catholic High School in Bethlehem, Pa., has been offered D-I scholarships as a defensive end, wide receiver, linebacker and tight end.

"Some are looking at me for defensive end, linebacker, wide receiver, or tight end," stated Newell. "N.C. State is looking for a wide receiver. Penn State, I think, is looking at me for wide receiver or tight end. Virginia likes me for linebacker. Pretty much the rest like me at defensive end."

At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds Newell has the frame to fill any of those roles and the athleticism to excel. If for some reason football didn't work out, he could always join the school's basketball team. He averaged 21 points and 12 rebounds per game as a junior and is rated among Pennsylvania's top ten prospects in both football and basketball. Newell has been offered a free ride to collegiate power St. Joseph's to play basketball. However he is "leaning towards football."

He played primarily at defensive end and tight end at Bethlehem last season and helped lead his team to a top 50 national ranking. He recorded 80 tackles with five sacks despite having to chase a lot of plays from behind with teams avoiding his side of the field. Still he managed to stay around the football and disrupt offenses with his full-throttle pursuit. He returned one fumble 46 yards for a touchdown against St. Xavier (Ohio).

"I'm a good pass rusher and have good speed," he said. "I'm really aggressive and very physical. I'm very athletic. I want to get stronger. I need to get more sacks and finish my tackles better and I could do that if I got stronger."

Newell has been a victim of his own success when it comes to strength training while maintaining a serious two-sport schedule. He has a respectable 250 pound bench press and 300 squat, but once he's able to devote himself to football fully those numbers will rise rapidly. He recently said he is "leaning more towards football" and there's no shortage of colleges offering.

He has no problems in the speed department as evidenced by his 4.5 time in the 40. He's also a fine leaper who can go up and pull down passes. He caught 30 passes last year for BCHS. Newell carries a 2.9 GPA and is awaiting the results from his SAT.

Tennessee had a coach at Newell's school in May and has been in hot pursuit ever since. He credits the Vols and Virginia with recruiting him the hardest and those are two of his favorites along with Florida, Florida State, Maryland and North Carolina State. UT likes Newell as a defensive end where his speed on the edge can bring heat on the quarterback. Will the position schools are recruiting him for make any difference in his final decision?

"To me, it doesn't matter what position I play." Newell insists. "Yeah, I like hitting people, but I like being on offense too. I don't consider myself so good at one thing that, that is where I should play, so I just look at all the positions the same.

"So, I'll just look at them (schools) all the same until I can see for myself what I like or don't like and then narrow it down. I honestly don't have any favorites right now."

After being slowed by an ankle injury last year, Newell has set lofty goals as a senior of 15 sacks and 1,000 receiving yards. With his experience and incentive, he just might meet those self-imposed standards.

"He has been a starter for three years, and will be a starter for a fourth year this season," says Bethlehem Catholic football coach Chuck Sonon. "But he had an ankle injury that limited him some last year."

Kyle Newell is rated the nation's No. 11 defensive end prospect by The Insiders and ranked Pennsylvania's No. 5 football prospect behind Callahan Bright, Justin King, Marcus Slocum and Andre Mathis.

"I'm quick off the ball." Newell stated. "I'm quick enough to edge-rush, but I like doing that and then coming up inside of them. I don't want them to get used to any one thing and I can do either pretty well."

Newell can do a lot of things well, but where will he do them?

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