Mosai Newsom thought he represented Iowa well last Friday at the U.S. Army All-American National Combine, an event featuring the country’s top underclassmen before seniors took center stage Saturday in the bowl game.
Prospects ran 40-yard dashes, pro agility courses and three-cone courses. They tested their verticals and counted power push-ups. And for the bulk of the combine, they battled in one-on-one competition. Of course, there were about 600 prospects stuffed inside the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, so it was hard to know if anybody noticed Newsom, a 2019 Hawkeyes target, during the combine.
247Sports released its National Combine First Team, and Newsom, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound junior defensive end from Wavlery-Shell Rock, was one of four defensive linemen selections.
"The Waverly (Iowa) Shell Rock defensive end did work in a variety of ways," 247Sports national analyst Steve Wiltfong wrote, "lining up across some of the best offensive tackles at the camp."
Newsom learned about the honor with his dad back in their hotel room.
"At first I looked at (the team) and I didn't know that I was on it," Newsom remembered during a Wednesday night conversation with HawkCentral. "And then my dad was like, 'Hey, did you see this?' And he zoomed in on my name and I was like, 'Oh, wow.'
"It’s a blessing. Glory to God, it was definitely a blessing."
Newsom’s first-team selection likely won’t earn him any new offers; he's already got three from Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.
But recruiting services such as 247Sports and Rivals do play a role in modern recruiting, and his recognition certainly doesn’t hurt. Notre Dame reached out after the combine to congratulate Newsom on his performance, he said.
If anything, the honor teases how Newsom's recruitment could spike this spring once colleges wrap up their 2018 classes. In addition to his three offers, Newsom is fielding interest from Notre Dame, Michigan State and Northwestern.
"Right now, he’s just at the beginning," Waverly-Shell Rock head coach Mark Hubbard said. "He’s got very explosive hips, he’s got a long reach. He’s mature. Academically, he’s very strong and he is going to really grow into his body physically. He will continue to increase, with a very big upside. As well as he’s done thus far, his upside is pretty exciting."
Newsom finished his junior season with 38.5 tackles, 7.5 solo tackles for loss and two solo sacks. Rivals and the 247Sports Composite both give him three stars, with the Composite ranking him the state’s No. 4 2019 prospect.
He also plays basketball (averaging 6.9 points this season) and runs track. Thanks to his athleticism and rapidly maturing frame, some think Newsom could still rise in the state's prospect rankings.
"They just think he’s got so much room to grow physically," Hubbard said of what Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota coaches tell him about Newsom. "He’s a big kid already, but his frame can continue to grow and he’s just got very explosive hips. He comes off the ball really well. He’s starting to use his hands really well more and more."
Defensive line coaches Reese Morgan and Kelvin Bell have spearheaded Iowa’s recruiting efforts with Newsom, and they were his most recent offer (July 30).
Bryce Paup is leading Minnesota’s pursuit. The Gophers’ defensive line coach first met Newsom at a Northern Iowa camp when he was still the Panthers’ defensive line coach. Six months after taking the Minnesota job, Paup extended Newsom’s first FBS offer.
Newsom has visited Iowa and Minnesota several times and he's also visited Iowa State. But he told the Register the Cyclones haven’t expressed much interest at this point.
He said he’ll "probably" take official visits this spring. But with spring’s track season and his family’s busy schedule, he'll have to wait to find pockets of time before he can schedule anything. Newsom also said he’s not sure if he’ll make a decision before his senior year, and that he wants to discuss that topic with his family.
"We are definitely going to have that conversation soon," he said.
Newsom recently visited Iowa on Dec. 17 for its bowl practice.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.