Better Know A Buckeye: Jonathan Newsome

Posted by Vico in Better Know A Buckeye |

Jonathan Newsome
As the second edition of this now 25-part feature titled Better Know A Buckeye moves towards a conclusion, I consider the 21st verbal commitment of this 25 member class.  Jonathan Newsome — a LB/DE (or “Leo”) prospect from Cleveland’s Glenville HS — is an important one in the 2009 class.  While not as highly regarded as his Army All-American HS teammate, Jonathan is important for being the first Tarblooder to commit to the Buckeyes in the class.  In doing so, Jonathan was the first one to secure the Glenville-Ohio State pipeline that has connected the high school and college football program almost continuously since Jim Tressel’s arrival in Columbus.  Further, Jonathan bucked a trend among Tarblooders.  Seemingly feeling the pinch of a class rapidly running out of scholarships, Jonathan committed early to the Buckeyes whereas many Tarblooders usually opt for last day decisions.  Below, I recap Jonathan’s recruitment and commitment to the Buckeyes.  Afterwards, I discuss strengths and areas for improvement in usual fashion before discussing miscellaneous things of minor importance.  I then conclude that Jonathan is better known and put him on “the board” accordingly.

Height: 6’3
Weight: 240lbs
40: 4.65
High School: Glenville HS; Cleveland, Ohio

His Recruitment: The story of a lot of recruits that end up at upper echelon programs — at least in the Midwest — usually starts quietly.  They start by acquiring MAC offers or interest from a service academy before they finally get a breakthrough offer from a BCS conference program.  Other programs, and even bigger programs, eventually follow suit, leaving said hypothetical recruit with a litany of options for his choosing.

This wasn’t Jonathan Newsome.  His story starts at the end of January 2008 when the Buckeyes and the Illini sent out offers simultaneously.  With it, Newsome’s first two offers were from the year’s national championship game participant1 and the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl participant.  That’s not bad at all.  Ron Zook’s reasons for offering are straight-forward: the cat is out of the bag on the Glenville program.  Previously that little secret that the Buckeyes knew about, Zook was the first one to pry a Tarblooder away from Jim Tressel that Tressel had offered (Cordale Scott).  He was trying to do it again.  Oddly enough, in spite of the little stream now forking out of the Glenville-Ohio State pipeline, connecting to Champaign, Illinois never seemed to be a real option for Jonathan.  While he discussed visiting Illinois early, they were never really given lip service as his second preference.  Get this: Indiana was.  Michigan State, if anyone, was his third preference if he had to itemize it as such.  All the schools that eventually offered him lagged behind one school on his chart: Ohio State.

Jonathan’s recruitment was relatively consistent on that regard as Ohio State was always his top preference.  Like all good Ohio kids, he admitted that “it’s every kid’s dream in Ohio to get an offer from Ohio State”.  The fascination with Ohio State was reaffirmed after he visited two weeks later.  He cited the tradition and the facilities, as just about every recruit does.  However, he admitted something that’s relatively unique among recruiting stories I read: Mom was really impressed.  Mom and parents in general are an important part of the recruiting process, but I’ve seldom read recruits openly mention it as a part of their own observations about visits.  However, that wasn’t all he admitted.  When discussing his plans to visit Columbus for their Spring Game, Jonathan admitted that Mom preferred Ohio State and keeping Mom happy on this regard was really important to him.  It wasn’t some primordial native attachment to the Great(est) State of Ohio that put the Buckeyes on top of Mom’s list; it was actually the coaching staff mentioning how much they’ll stay on top of their football players to assist them in eventually graduating from The Ohio State University.  The Spring Game visit even had him thinking of committing, but Jonathan suppressed that impulse.  While the Buckeyes were invariably his first choice — and inevitable destination if his words and recent history were any indication, Jonathan held to the line that so many Tarblooders before him have.  He wanted to see other places, take official visits before making a late decision.

His Commitment: However, somewhere along the path, his timetable changed.  His preference didn’t: he always wanted to be at Ohio State and they were always his leader.  Still, I think he realized that the space available in the Buckeyes’ 2009 class by June was rapidly shrinking.  At his position(s) alone, the Buckeyes already had Whiting, Klein and Bell at linebacker and had Melvin Fellows’ Safari Planet at defensive end.  By late June, the Buckeyes had secured a flurry of commitments from Duron Carter, Carlos Hyde, Justin Green (eventually switched to Illinois), Corey Brown, and Brad McDougald (eventually switched to Kansas).  That was 22 commitments by June alone.  It seems implausible that Jim Tressel would withdraw a scholarship from Newsome for space constraints.  He’d just as soon find space for him in order to stay in the good graces of Ted Ginn Sr.  But if Jim Tressel wouldn’t do it, Jonathan Newsome was probably feeling it.

By late June, Jonathan decided to talk it over with Mom.  Mom advised him that if he was 100 percent certain that he wanted to be a Buckeye, there’d be nothing tangibly gained from dragging his feet any longer.  Realizing that being a Buckeye was what he always wanted, Jonathan called Ted Ginn Sr and informed him that he was going to commit.  Afterwards, he called Jim Tressel and gave him a verbal commitment.

With that verbal commitment on June 24th of last year, Jonathan Newsome accomplished more than just securing his spot in a recruiting class and deciding where he wanted to go to college.  These are important things to be sure.  For fans like us, Newsome was the first of the class to secure the pipeline connecting Glenville and Ohio State.  The Tarblooder program has given us luminaries like Troy Smith, Donte Whitner, Ted Ginn Jr and present-day faces of the programs like Jermale Hines.  A Tarblooder has also been in every recruiting class since (at least) 20022.  Still, the connection has been tried in recent years.  2007 had one Tarblooder, the aforementioned Jermale Hines.  2008 had two, but it was not without some effort.  Where Tarblooders typically receive early offers from the Buckeyes and wait until late in the recruiting campaign to committ toe the Buckeyes, it was actually late offers to Shawntell Rowell and Jermil Martin that eventually secured the pipeline.  Jermil Martin was a good pickup (and I knew it when it happened), but Shawntell Rowell has yet to suit up and likely never will.  Further, 2008 was also the year that Cordale Scott — the top Glenville target for the Buckeyes — became the one that got away.  2009 was precarious as well.  There weren’t that many Tarblooders to be had.  Hall was always an option to go somewhere else and Mike Edwards (Tennessee commitment) was never on the Buckeyes radar (for a variety of reasons).  With that in mind, Newsome’s relatively early commitment was one to celebrate.  He was also eventually joined by his teammate Marcus Hall, in typical late-in-the-game Tarblooder fashion.

The college level will not be as easy as tackling an old man, but we hope it will be for Newsome.
Where He Excels: The Buckeyes have LEO in mind for Jonathan Newsome, which is the stand-up defensive end position presently held by Thaddeus Gibson.  Jonathan is raw material at the moment, but there are important things to consider that make him an OSU-level recruit.  First, the motor is definitely there.  Motor is one of those things you really can’t coach, but wish that the recruit in question has the intensity play in and play out.  While not having blazing speed, it seems that he’s best in backside pursuit or turning up field to make the tackle.  He will certainly play to the whistle for the Buckeyes.  He also plays with a good aggressiveness as well and admits that he just wants to hit people.

Must Work On: Keeping with the theme that Jonathan is a little raw at the moment, I see that he sometimes takes poor angles when lining up for a tackle.  He even overpursues.  At the snap of the ball, Jonathan does an adequate job shooting out of this stance to initiate the contact.  It’s one of his superlatives.  However, he’s not very consistent off the snap.  When he stutters out of the gates, he loses momentum and is easier pushed out of plays.  This is certainly pronounced in the pass rush.  Jonathan will also need to develop some kind of pass rushing moves since he appears to be largely an effort guy at the moment.  In doing so, Jonathan finds himself with a blocker squarely in front of him.  He will need to more reliably play half a man, or otherwise the task may be impossible for him at the collegiate level.  Still, I like the effort, I love the pursuit, and I think he has a good fluidity and frame to him that can allow him to be in the LEO picture down the road for the Buckeyes.

Redshirt? I think so.  Nathan Williams did not redshirt last year and made an immediate impact.  The same goes for Cam Heyward.  Keith Wells did not either, but perhaps should’ve.  Still, it seems like just about everyone that comes to Ohio State as a defensive line recruit ends up redshirting, though the finding is much more consistent for defensive tackle prospects.  With a glut of defensive linemen in 2009, I’m expecting Newsome sits out 2009 to be a scout-teamer and a spectator on Saturdays.

Highlights: Courtesy of Scouting Ohio, via the YouTubes.  His junior year highlights are first up.  Below this: his senior year.


Newsome headed down to Ohio State on Saturday morning with his mother and sister.

“The coaches were with them,” Newsome said. “The players showed (the recruits) around. We all went to the Mongolian Barbeque on Saturday for dinner. Then we went back to the Blackwell Hotel. After that we went back out again. There were about 20 of us. I’d say that was the thing I liked best, going out with all the other (recruits) and our hosts.”

* Vital Statistics: Newsome split time between outside linebacker and defensive end as a senior. He also played center, guard and tight end on offense. As a senior, Newsome tallied 17 sacks, five fumbles caused, three fumble recoveries, one interception and three blocked punts, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He helped lead Glenville to a 12-1 record and is a classmate of fellow OSU signee Marcus Hall. He earned Division I All-Northeast Lakes first-team honors and special mention All-Ohio kudos from The Associated Press. Newsome is set to play for the Ohio squad in the Big 33 Football Classic in June.

* Rankings: He is rated as the No. 5 overall senior prospect in Ohio, according to Ohio High magazine. Also rated as the No. 10 overall prospect in the state, according to The Ohio Football Recruiting News. Newsome is rated as the nation’s No. 70 defensive end prospect by SuperPrep rates Newsome as the 38th-best prospect in the Midwest.

All things considered, I think Jonathan is better known, or something.

The More You Know

And now, let’s put him on the board.

Class of 2009
Name Position Hometown Better Known? Name Position Hometown Better Known?
CJ Barnett DB Clayton, OH 02.20 Marcus Hall OL Glenville, OH
Dorian Bell LB Monroeville, PA 04.10 Adam Homan FB Coldwater, OH 01.29
Adam Bellamy DT Aurora, OH 05.26 Carlos Hyde RB Naples, FL 06.29
Jaamal Berry RB Miami, FL James Jackson WR Grand Ledge, TSUN 03.05
Zach Boren FB Pickerington, OH 01.22 Storm Klein LB Nerk, Ahia 02.02
Corey Brown WR/DB Monroeville, PA 07.13 Corey Linsley OL Youngstown, OH 05.11
Duron Carter WR Ft. Lauderdale, FL 06.03 Sam Longo OL Belbrook, OH
Dominic Clarke DB Frederick MD 02.11 Jack Mewhort OL Toledo, OH 02.05
Melvin Fellows’ Safari Planet DE Garfield Heights, OH 04.24 Jonathan Newsome LB/DE Glenville, OH 07.22
Chris Fields WR Painesville, OH 04.02 John Simon DE Youngstown, OH 03.26
Reid Fragel TE Grosse Pointe, TSUN 05.18 Jordan Whiting LB Louisville, KY 03.12
Kenny Guiton QB Aldine, TX Jamie Wood DB Pickerington, OH 02.26
Jordan Hall ATH Jeannette, PA 04.20
  1. sigh… []
  2. I admit, I know nothing of the 2001 recruiting class and doesn’t have that in their database. []


Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.


One Response to “Better Know A Buckeye: Jonathan Newsome”

  1. 1 Ken

    Jesus, I really like this kid. First off, he seems to be considerate and listens to good advice (you go Mrs Newsome.) Hell, any young man that takes his Mom’s/parents’ feeling into account is of high moral standing. If nothing else, he should take coaching well.

    Vico, you’re right, he seems to have a pretty good pursuit motor. A redshirt year of beefing up and coaching techniques will do the lad a lot of good. I’ve got to tell you, looking at the videos, I was pretty impressed with his O-line blocking. He seemed to come off the ball well, got into the defender and held his block for quite a while. He might be a little light in the ass for an offensive lineman, but man, I love the way he gets after his blocking assignments.

Leave a Reply