It’s already been a good month for Kansas University on the recruiting front. In addition to the men’s basketball team landing top prospect Andrew Wiggins, the football program has added a couple of key pieces in the Class of 2014, a couple of late additions to the Class of 2013 and is pounding the pavement in an attempt to add more.
One of KU coach Charlie Weis’ top targets in the 2014 class is Hiawatha High defensive tackle Peyton Newell and, at 6 p.m. Saturday on Twitter, Weis and company will find out if their early efforts proved fruitful when Newell releases his six finalists from a list of 34 suitors.
A couple of weeks back, Newell, 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, announced on Twitter that he would reveal his Top 5 on June 1. However, in the days since then, Newell had trouble narrowing it down and now plans to keep six teams in the running for his services. He plans to commit on Aug. 30.
“The process has been going on for about four years now,” Newell told the Journal-World earlier this week. “And I’m ready to get it done. The whole thing is a lot harder than people realize.”
Ranked by Rivals.com as the fourth best prospect in Kansas, Newell is considered by many to be a player capable of making an immediate impact wherever he goes. That’s his goal, and his blend of raw size and athleticism is the reason he has more than 30 offers from BCS programs, including nearly all of the programs in the Big 12 and Big Ten.
“It’s definitely been overwhelming,” Newell said. “If you look at my list, there’s USC, UCLA, Cal all the way to South Carolina and Clemson. I can’t even name all of them. I hate to say that but I’ve got a lot of schools after me and I’m ready to get it done.”
Although Newell has yet to reveal his list of finalists, there appears to be legitimate reason for Jayhawk fans to hope their school is on it. Nearly all of Newell’s family members either went to KU or are currently attending, including his mom and dad, his grandparents and several aunts and uncles. Thanks to the efforts put forth by the current KU coaching staff, Newell’s KU family appears to extend beyond bloodlines.
“I’ve built great relationships with coach (Buddy) Wyatt and coach (Clint) Bowen and coach Weis,” the Hiawatha standout said. “Coach (Dave) Campo’s actually been out to my school three or four times, so I know they care for me a lot and they want me to be a Jayhawk.”
Saturday night, the football staff at Kansas will have a better understanding whether the feeling’s mutual.