Lynden (Wash.) defensive end Caleb Newman breaks down his commitment to Army...
Newman: West Point "blew me away"
"Before the visit I was down to either Army or Air Force," said Caleb Newman. "I had already taken an unofficial visit to Colorado Springs. The visit [to Army] was just awesome. It blew me away. It was my first time on the east coast. I loved the feel of the place. You real sense of community being there. Army played more into what I wanted to do as far as the military. I like the idea of being a leader to others and it's more hands-on with your troops.
"My player-host was James Kelly, a defensive lineman. I spent some time with Coach Mumford breaking down film on different pass rushing schemes. The highlight of the visit was probably on Sunday. It was so cool. We went to Coach Ellerson's house and his wife cooked us breakfast. All of the coaches were there. Then each of us got to spend some one-on-one time with Coach Ellerson. It was great to see how much all of the staff cares about the players they're recruiting."
Although tempted to commit while on campus, Newman returned to Lynden before he made his final decision, but it didn't take him long to place the call.
"When I was there I wanted to commit because it felt right," he explained. "I wanted to go back home though and see if it still felt right. It was good because we had Monday off at school for Martin Luther King day and that gave me all day to think about my decision. When I woke up Tuesday morning, I knew Army is where I wanted to go.
"I initially received my offer from Army last June. The staff noticed I was a track guy and my time in the 400 meter dash was uncommonly good for someone my size. Coach Shields told me they liked how aggressive I played and how I got after it in the pass rush.
Newman played defensive end in his junior season at Lynden High School, but moved to outside linebacker for his senior season.
"I consider myself a hybrid defensive end- outside linebacker," he said. "Playing linebacker gave me the option of coming off the edge to pressure the quarterback or dropping back in coverage. I played at 230 (pounds) as a junior and this year played at 220. The weight loss made a big difference in my speed. In my ball pursuit, I was a lot faster. What also helped was playing right tackle on offense. When I lined up with my hand on the ground, it was nice knowing what goes through tackle's head. Taking on those guys, I knew what to look for.
"We won our second straight state championship this season. What was nice is I felt like I stepped up and played my best during the playoffs. In the final game, we won 41 to 7 and shut down a high-powered offense. I felt like I grew up as a player this year and improved in every game."
Newman was named first team All-State (Washington Class 2A) and first team All-Conference in 2012. He's currently wrestling in the 220-pound weight class and plans on running track in the spring. His personal best in the 400 meter dash that got the Army coaches' attention is a 50.3. Newman says he still needs to fill out the essay and the physical portion of the application for his letter of acceptance into the Academy to be complete. Upon completion, he'll be eligible to go directly into the Academy this June.
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