Meet UConn's Future Workhorse
By Jackson Wang
UConn’s running game was almost non-existent last season. The Huskies rushed for 1,013 yards, averaging just over 84 yards a game for just 12 touchdowns on the season.
But help is on its way.
UConn was able to secure in-state Parade All-American running back Arkeel Newsome on signing day. Newsome, a three-star recruit from Ansonia, Conn., rushed for nearly 4,000 yards and 64 touchdowns in his senior year. He stands alone for all-time rushing yards in Connecticut state history as the only running back to run for more than 10,000 yards.
Standing at 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, Newsome easily could be UConn’s workhorse in 2015 as current Huskies running back Lyle McCombs graduates after next season. But don’t be surprised if the All-American running back gets some burn this fall.
Newsome’s ability to read linebackers while following his blockers makes him stand out from the rest of the running backs in the class of 2014. He also has the ability to cut back on a dime and hit the hole at full speed.
And once this Connecticut all-state running back gets into some space, he’s gone as he turns on his burners.
Newsome has a great stiff-arm as well, which shows off his strength. But he can improve on that by working on switch hands when carrying the ball. Most of the time, Newsome looks comfortable running with the football in his right hand, so when he goes left, he loses that stiff-arm ability.
Newsome’s body frame is similar to McCombs, which is why Newsome could easily be spiting carries with the current UConn workhorse.
But the fact that Newsome decided to start playing college football in-state shows his true passion and loyalty for UConn, which should the Huskies football staff very excited. Newsome also had interest from Boston College, Iowa and Miami.
And the good news for Newsome is that with a new coaching staff, everyone, including the current UConn players, will have to learn a new offensive scheme. That means Newsome won’t be too far behind on learning the system when he joins the team.
Plus, the future looks bright for the UConn offense as they have commitments from offensive tackle Steve Hashemi and guard Daniel Oak (Fort Myers, Fla.) and guard Ryan Crozier (Plantation, Fla.). All are renowned high school offensive linemen and will help improve that running game for the Huskies.
This upcoming season may just be a learning year for Newsome, but with the addition of these great offensive linemen recruits, UConn is going to be one dangerous offensive attack in the coming years.