Matt Campbell thought it was a joke when Colin Newell sat down in his office on Saturday and told Iowa State’s new head coach that he was committing to play for the Cyclones. He figured the three-star offensive tackle from Ames High had to be pulling an April Fools prank.
This wasn’t a joke. This was a kid ready to commit to playing for the school of which he’s been a lifelong fan, and a self described diehard. This was the Cyclones getting the first piece of the puzzle for their 2017 class of offensive linemen.
“He was really surprised. He was like, ‘And you’re sure about this? You’re kidding, right?’ I was like ‘no,”’ Newell said in a phone interview with CycloneFanatic.com on Sunday morning. “My Dad was in there with me. He was like, ‘You’re okay with this?’ to my Dad and my Dad was like, ‘Oh yeah, we talked about it and everything’ and he was really excited. Then I went out in the hallway after I left his office and there were a bunch of coaches out there. It was awesome.”
Newell, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound prospect, was Campbell’s first high school visit when he got the job in December. Campbell made it clear early on that day that Newell was one of the top priorities in a class which will ultimately be huge for the future of Iowa State football.
Campbell’s commitment to making him a priority stuck out to Newell. The eighth-ranked player in the state of Iowa (according to 247) knew he wanted to stay home despite picking up offers from Iowa and a handful of small conference schools.
“Just like getting around them, talking to them, they’re all so genuine, like everything they say you know they mean,” Newell said about the Iowa State staff. “They just want the best for every single player and they really take the time to make sure each player is getting what they need. It’s just an awesome group of guys and it will be awesome to play for them.”
Newell is Iowa State’s fourth commit in the class of 2017 and is the third player from Iowa joining Waterloo, West quarterback Devon Moore and Cedar Rapids Washington outside linebacker O’Rien Vance. He was the Cyclones’ second commit of the week after three-star wide receiver Josh Johnson tweeted his pledge on Monday.
Committing to Iowa State also gave Newell the opportunity to link back up with some old friends. High school teammates Michael Frankl (quarterback) and Colby Shane (a wide receiver) will be walk-on freshmen in the fall. Those two plus Newell will give the Cyclones four Ames natives on the roster along with current redshirt sophomore running back Clifford Kwaw-Mensah.
“Colby and Michael, I’m really good friends with just from the football team and being at high school and everything,” Newell said. “We’re all close so it is going to be fun to play with them again.”
It is still early but Iowa State’s class now sits at No. 40 in the 247 team rankings. They find themselves one slot behind Nebraska and six above Oregon. Saturday’s pickup was just more momentum for Campbell and his crew.
“This new staff is awesome,” Newell said. “There’s nothing more to say about it but the guys have a winning record.”