The way Peyton Newell looks at it, he’s been on this recruiting trek since eighth grade.
That’s when he was invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Yes, they have all-star games like that for middle schoolers.
How’d they find Newell for something like that, one asks?
“I have no idea,” he says with a laugh. “No idea.”
He just knows recruiters have been finding him ever since. The defensive end from Hiawatha, Kan., has an offer sheet that runs more than 30 schools deep.
“It’s definitely a crazy process,” he said. “I’m very blessed to be going through it. I definitely do not let it get to me at all. I still have my priorities straight.”
It helps that he’s cut out the fat, narrowing his list.
Only six matter now: Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, South Carolina, USC and Georgia.
He’ll pick one of those schools Aug. 30, an announcement date he’s already set to take place at his school.
Newell says he’s basically done with camps and the recruiting circuit. But there is one last stop this weekend in Lincoln — Big Red Weekend.
He's been here before but Newell said this visit is about learning some of the details — “the stuff that makes Nebraska special.”
Newell joins a list of at least 10 known prospects from the 2014 class and a handful from the '15 class who are known to be visiting for the event.
According to the lists compiled from the three main Husker recruiting sites (HuskerOnline, HuskersIllustrated and BigRedReport), some of the notable 2014 prospects expected to join Newell include:
* Offensive linemen D.J. Foster (Lincoln Southeast) and Nick Gates (Las Vegas).
* Tight end Freedom Akinmoladun (Grandview, Mo.).
* Quarterback Matthew Jordan (Jackson, Ala.).
* Defensive tackle Zack Singer (Las Vegas).
* Wide receivers Cameron Sims (Monroe, La.), T.V. Williams (McKinney, Texas) and Demornay Pierson-El (West Potomac, Va.).
* Defensive back Luke Gifford (Lincoln Southeast), who already is committed to Nebraska.
* In addition, Omaha North running back Calvin Strong is one of the prospects from the 2015 class who will attend.
It will be a new experience to most, but not to Newell. He actually attended the inaugural Big Red Weekend last year.
He was in Lincoln for the Michigan and Penn State games too, getting to chat with Kenny Bell and Rex Burkhead after both of them.
Newell isn’t tipping where he’s leaning. Kansas was his childhood team. Dad played football there. And you best believe there have been plenty of trips to The Phog through the years.
But Nebraska’s not exactly far away. Just about an hour-and-45-minute drive. And he’ll tell you Husker assistants Rick Kaczenski and John Garrison “have been two of my favorite guys from the beginning.”
“They’re one of the few schools that they’ve done everything right,” Newell said. “I know that I’m very high on their list and I’m a high priority and they definitely treat me like that.”
And so the family will get in the car for one more recruiting trip to Lincoln on Saturday.
After all, what’s another 120 miles each way when the journey to this point already has been three years?
Stoltenberg nabs Husker offer
No commitment yet, but another in-state prospect has received an offer from the Huskers.
Gretna’s Mick Stoltenberg, who former Husker Steve Warren recently called “the ultimate diamond in the rough,” picked up an offer from Nebraska after working out for coaches at a summer camp session Thursday.
The 6-6, 250-pound Stoltenberg has played both tight end and defensive end at Gretna. He is being looked at as an offensive lineman or tight end by Nebraska, according to HuskerOnline.com.
Warren, who lives near Omaha and trains Stoltenberg at his Warren Academy, has said the young player's work ethic and motor remind him of former Husker great Kyle Vanden Bosch.
Gretna coach Chad Jepsen said Stoltenberg certainly is a player with a "huge upside" who never has trouble being motivated.
"Mick’s the kind of kid that’s going to work hard regardless of where he’s going or what he’s doing or what camp he’s at," Jepsen said. "I’m sure he worked his butt off and also impressed the coaches down there."