Peyton Newell

Hiawatha, Kan., defensive end Peyton Newell (left) will sign a letter of intent with Nebraska on Wednesday.

Within these summer months, Peyton Newell's list has been shrinking. It was, for a while, at six. On Saturday he moved it down to four potential schools where he might attend and play football: Nebraska, South Carolina, Kansas and Kansas State.

The defensive end from Hiawatha, Kan., a prospect the Huskers have heavily courted, has for a while had a planned announcement date of his future college set for Aug. 30.

In the meantime, he keeps plenty busy.

I caught up for a chat with Newell yesterday. He had awakened at 5:30 that morning because he always wakes up at 5:30.

He said that his dad once made a deal with him that as long as Peyton stayed dedicated to waking up at 5:30 for weightlifting and such things, he didn't have to take on a summer job. But alas, duty called in this particular summer and Peyton is working in addition to all the sweat spent training and lifting.

On Tuesday, he woke up at his normal time and then spent about five hours tearing the siding off a barn by himself before lunch.

It would figure that Newell -- whose highlights can be found here and whose Twitter handle can be found here (@p_newell) -- is a good guy to have tear down a barn.

The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Newell said at the beginning of the summer he was squatting 700 pounds and benching 400, with a vertical of 33 inches and a 40 time of 4.8 seconds.

Strength and toughness runs in the family. Peyton's dad, Frank, walked on to play football at Kansas. And Frank's pretty darn strong too, as was shown in some father-son lifting sessions in the basement.

The younger Newell says he once saw the elder Newell lift 225 pounds 38 times, and that was at the age of 40. "I bet I've passed him (with most weightlifting numbers), but I don't know if I'll ever do that," Peyton said.

Oh yeah, there's also this fun tidbit: His grandpa Billy Howard was a WWE wrestler who helped train Hulk Hogan and got to wrestle against Andre the Giant.

One of those key Husker recruit prospects inside that much talked about 500-mile radius, Newell has been a main target of Nebraska coaches for a while. He didn't just attend the Big Red Weekend this year. He attended last year's as well.

And recruiters have been interested in him far longer that that. As I wrote last month, he's basically had schools interested in him since he in was the eighth grade. Early riser indeed.

Why is Newell waiting until the end of August to make his college decision known, you ask? There's a good reason.

Newell's hometown of Hiawatha is a relatively small community of about 4,000 people. It's a close-knit town, one that has been good to the Newell family for various reasons of which I'll get more into in a story coming Friday.

The idea was to pick a time at the school when Newell could announce and celebrate his decision in the presence of some of those important people from around the community. The date of Aug. 30, a week before his team's season opener, was selected.

"The community has been so good to me throughout the whole process..." Newell said. "I can't go anywhere without someone coming up to talk to me -- and it might have nothing to do with football -- just because they know me. So the community is important to me and I feel like I owe it to them to make a name for Hiawatha."

While waiting to announce, Newell will keep setting an early time on that alarm clock. Sure, it's summer. But those weights don't lift themselves and there might be a barn that needs torn down somewhere.


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