Ryan Newsome (5’8, 168 ) ****
No. 26 WR, No. 193 Overall
Evaluation: Newsome is a truly explosive playmaker, with excellent quickness and very good top-end speed, reportedly running a sub-10.4 100 meters in high school. He was extremely dynamic as a punt returner in high school, reportedly returning seven punts for touchdowns during his senior season. As a receiver, he makes up for his lack of size with excellent open field ability. He has very good hands and can make the occasional contested catch despite his lack of size and strength. It’ll be key for him to get a little bit stronger in college so he can become a better downfield blocker, but he doesn’t have the biggest frame, so adding too much more weight would probably lead to some diminished quickness. He’s a true playmaker, though, whether on special teams or at receiver, and that’s a rare commodity.
How He Fits: We won’t say this is the final piece to the puzzle on offense for UCLA, but Newsome is pretty close. We’ve said for a long time that the Bruins needed that fast, shifty slot receiver type to really add a new dimension to the offense, and Newsome is certainly that type of player. There are some concerns about his size, particularly given the kind of power spread that UCLA ran this year with big, physical receivers who could block, but we have to imagine the coaching staff will be able to devise a role for someone who should instantly be one of the more dynamic players on the team with the ball in his hands. We’ve heard that the goal will be to play him in year one, given he is a different kind of player than anyone on UCLA’s roster and adds a specific dimension that the Bruins don’t really have. He’s a significant mismatch for most defenders, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see him play a particularly versatile F role, sometimes lining up in the slot, sometimes out wide, and sometimes in the backfield. Long term, he projects as a potential starter in the slot on offense and, legitimately, a potential All-American at punt returner. In any event, UCLA just pulled off a pretty spectacular recruitment, pulling a Texas receiver from the Longhorns after a lengthy recruiting job spearheaded by head coach Jim Mora. Given some of the other national recruiting battles UCLA is involved in, this is hopefully a sign of things to come.
Commitment Analysis: Ryan Newsome
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