More than 50 recruits or potential recruits watched the Hawkeyes stomp Ohio State in person last Saturday night. We’ll have to wait and see how great an impact that win has on Iowa’s immediate recruiting future.
One of the program’s most intriguing prospects wasn’t on hand, though. Instead, he was taking a game-day visit to Notre Dame.
We’re talking about Waverly-Shell Rock’s Mosai Newsom.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end has offers from Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, as well as interest from Iowa State, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Northwestern. But he isn’t rated on any recruiting site. He doesn’t have any stars. And he’s nowhere to be found on 247Sports' 2019 prospect rankings for the state of Iowa.
But that will all change. Soon.
After picking up offers last offseason based on sheer potential, Newsom dominated his junior year. He's poised for a major jump on recruiting sites, and Iowa, which jumped in early, will try to hold on.
"Three stars is a virtual certainty at this point," said Allen Trieu, Scout’s Midwest football recruiting analyst. "I think the question is, is he more than that, possibly? And I definitely don’t think that’s out of the question."
Newsom logged six tackles and one solo sack as a sophomore. The following offseason, he added 12 pounds and worked out at individual camps at Iowa, Iowa State, Oregon, Minnesota and South Dakota. He picked up his first three offers along the way.
Then, as a junior, he racked up 38.5 tackles, seven solo tackles for loss and three sacks while often facing double-teams.
"Going into next year, I want to be a lot of a different player. I want to definitely get better with my hands," said Newsom, who posited he'd improve his hands through boxing. "I want to get better with my feet, and speed — I want to be a lot faster next year."
With another strong offseason, Trieu said Newsom has a chance to be the state’s top 2019 prospect — above four-star Iowa offensive tackle recruits Tyler Endres and Ezra Miller, as well as three-star quarterback Max Duggan.
"He’s not a guy who turns it off and on," Trieu said. "He gets off the ball well, pursues the football, and he looks like he’s hustling out there. I think that’s important for big guys — especially big guys who are playing guys that are a lot smaller than them. He probably wouldn't have to put in 100 percent effort to be effective all the time.
"But, at least on his highlight tapes — and we realize those are just the best plays — he looks like a guy who’s getting himself around the field quickly and playing hard."
Newsom was one of 600 underclassmen invited to the National Combine at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 4. There, he’ll get to show off in front of top evaluators.
He said he isn’t really thinking about other offseason plans yet, but he’ll likely tour the summer camp circuit again. He’s good enough to raise eyebrows at the Nike and Under Armor regional camps, too, should he choose to attend those.
In terms of in-state visits, Newsom has taken two game-day trips to Iowa and is trying to figure out a day for Iowa State. But that’s about the only recruiting item on his mind right now.
He’s focused on his other two high school sports: basketball and track and field. (That's music to recruiters' ears, by the way. Especially Iowa's Kelvin Bell.)
Newsom averaged 3.8 points and three rebounds for Waverly-Shell Rock last year. He also led his team with a 46-foot, half-inch shot put and a 144-foot, 1-inch discus throw. He said he might run the 100- and 200-meter this season, too.
"I’m always going to keep working. Right now, I’m just focused on basketball and being the best basketball player I can be," Newsom said. "And once track comes around, I’ll focus on being the best track and field athlete that I can be. I’m just going to keep on working. Non-stop working. And whoever the good Lord helps me decide what I’m going to do, that’s what I’ll do."
Until then, keep an eye on the kid from Waverly, Iowa.
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.