We are 24 days away from football season and I thought it might be appropriate to drum up some excitement for a gamechanging playmaker who just joined the team this year.
I'm talking about the first Parade All-American to commit to UConn. A modest young man who re-wrote the Connecticut High School record books. Someone who reminds this (very) amateur writer of a young Barry Sanders.
Husky fans I implore you, please be more excited for Arkeel Newsome. If you need any convincing, watch this sweet move.
That would-be tackler is no joke either, Isaiah Wright currently holds offers from UConn, Syracuse, BC, UMass and Rutgers. Arkeel Newsome's highlight reel is loaded with plays like this-- 97-yard runs, punt return touchdowns and multiple stunning scampers that make defenders look invisible. He can juke, he has a mean stiff-arm, and is more than capable of making something out of nothing.
I don't care what you say about the level of competition in Connecticut, his career numbers (10,685 rushing yards, 11.3 yards per carry and 187 total touchdowns) are INSANE, with career state records in yardage and touchdowns. He also set state records for yards and touchdowns in his senior year with 3,867 and 68 respectively. I had to check multiple sources for all of these numbers because they sounded way too absurd.
From his highlights, Newsome demonstrates great vision, knows how and when to use the truck stick and has incredible change of direction and breakaway speed.
Lastly, Newsome has an opportunity to earn some playing time and stand out among a group of running backs vying for the lead role with the departure of Lyle McCombs. Head Coach Bob Diaco has been heaping praise on Redshirt Freshman Josh Marriner and has stated that all three of the true freshman running backs will play a role-- the team's leading returning rusher Max DeLorenzo will also get his share but I still think Newsome has a good chance to break out because this team is going to run a lot.
With the multiple tight end sets and not-so-subtle hints about a power rushing offense, we may legitimately see the Huskies run the ball over 30 times a game. There should be plenty of carries to go around. With no true lead back Newsome could very well earn a good chunk of playing time as a true freshman as the lightning to someone else's thunder. Following a great line of UConn running backs, Newsome could very well be the best one yet.
After three dull years of football sub-mediocrity, UConn Football has successfully driven enthusiasm with the hiring of Bob Diaco. But the players are the ones who ultimately decide the outcome on the field. College football is all about making big plays and Arkeel Newsome could be the one to provide the jolt on the field that this team needs. Imagine if Newsome breaks a long TD in the season opener against BYU. The Rent would explode.
And for the first time in years, UConn football fans would finally have a show worth going to.