Waverly-Shell Rock's Mosai Newsom and his 'rare tools' continue climb up recruiting ladder
WAVERLY, Ia. — Chiseled from a sprawling 6-foot-5, 240-pound canvas, you can see the final forming with every practice peek. Mosai Newsom, a head taller than many of his Waverly-Shell Rock teammates, isn’t hard to locate. His white long sleeves whip away in the Iowa wind as Newsom moves from one rep to the next — his coveted frame and mobility on full display.
Newsom then yanks off his helmet as the final whistle blows. Short dreadlocks splattered black and blonde flop out in every direction, taking on a mind of their own as the mid-afternoon sun shines down.
“I had really long dreadlocks before, back in, like, seventh, eighth grade,” Newsom explains with a smile. “And then I cut it. I don’t know — a couple people in my family have it.
“I thought it was something different.”
The Go-Hawks believe they have something different in Newsom, who’s already picked up significant recruiting steam and continues to morph into a bona fide prospect with still two years of high school football remaining.
The junior defensive end landed offers from South Dakota and Minnesota to start the summer. Iowa jumped into the Newsom sweepstakes just a few short weeks ago.
The ceiling is growing.
“I know some of the (2019) offensive linemen in the state — Ezra Miller and Tyler Endres and those guys — got some of the early hype,” said Allen Trieu, Scout.com’s Midwest football recruiting manager, “but I think Mosai has a chance to at least be in the conversation to be the top (2019) recruit in the state.”
More impressively is that designation comes without much defensive production to lean on.
Newsom didn’t crack the varsity roster as a freshman and played primarily along the offensive line to start the 2016 season. A teammate's injury late in the year significantly increased Newsom’s defensive reps, but he finished with just six tackles, 1.5 TFLs and a sack.
In 2017, there will be no restrictions.
“He definitely has the ability to be a dominant player on both sides of the football, and that’s what we’d expect,” Waverly-Shell Rock coach Mark Hubbard said. “And, really, that’s what he expects of himself — he expects to go out and be a dominant football player on Friday night.”
As a versatile piece in the trenches — Hubbard said they’ll move Newsom up and down both lines, depending on the matchup — a forceful junior campaign could certainly unfold. Newsom’s added 10 to 12 pounds after upping his weight room dedication in the offseason — he’s now lifting almost every day — and Trieu said he ultimately projects the Go-Hawk junior as a heftier strong-side defensive end.
Newsom is still fine-tuning the intricate details of the position; honing in on pad level, hand placement, slant techniques and more, as he continues to grow within the game.
“I think when you offer a kid that young, a lot of times it’s just about athletic potential,” Trieu said. “And I think, with him being 6-foot-5 and able to bend and move the way he does, he didn’t need to have a ton of film — his highlights last year are only a couple minutes long, so there’s not a lot to go on, there.
“But it’s pretty obvious pretty quickly that you have a big kid who’s a fluid athlete and can do all of the things schools want a big guy to be able to do. The technique and all that stuff is going to come.”
Once the production mirrors the measurements...
Newsom’s name may end up widely circulating across the Midwest.
When analyzing his recruiting potential, Trieu referenced mega-prospect John Waggoner, Dowling Catholic’s standout defensive end who now owns offers from the likes of Iowa, Iowa State, LSU, Michigan, Florida, Ohio State, Penn State, Oklahoma, Oregon and others.
Many of those, though, arrived after Waggoner’s junior season, and Trieu could see Newsom similarly landing a multitude of offers down the road.
“He’s got some rare tools,” Trieu said, “so I think the upside of Mosai — how high could this (recruitment) get? I could see him having offers from a lot of the Big Ten.”
A decision isn't likely coming soon. The product of a structured, well-rounded home, Newsom said he’s not one to rush a monumental decision, opting instead to “just enjoy everything and take everything in.” He knows more opportunities could trickle in this season, but acknowledged that Iowa’s offer generated a bit more buzz inside Waverly’s walls.
“A lot of people around here heard about it,” Newsom said. “A lot of love from the community was really cool.”
Now firmly planted on the recruiting map, Newsom is no longer a secret tucked away in Iowa’s northeastern corner. He’s blessed with what’s unfolded — but knows more can be attained..
“I can’t ever stop working,” he said. “I’ve got to keep going at it.”
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.