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By ASHLEY SCOBY
In terms of pure athleticism and potential for development, I might be most excited to watch Langston Newton, out of all of UK’s football signees. The guy is an absolute monster with a 30” vertical jump and a 4.6 40-yard-dash time – at 6’5, 240 pounds. It’s pretty rare that you get a guy who played defensive tackle in high school to put forth those kinds of numbers.
But Newton is nothing if not athletic – he’s a state champ in discus and shot put and had one heck of a football career to boot. (His highlight video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ij6tZbcxuE).
Not only is Newton a stud athletically, but he also has those clichéd “intangibles” that we love to talk about. In high school, he was part of a focus group at Carmel (Indiana) where he would go out and talk to kids in the community, promote the high school to the youth, etc. By all accounts, he’s a well-spoken, intelligent guy who has a burning desire to compete and to win. What else would you ask for out of a kid playing football at UK?
Langston is Morgan Newton’s brother, and I think it will be important for the younger of the two to make a name for himself outside of his brother’s. In most articles you find about Langston’s high school football career, the writer mentions Morgan’s Mr. Football award in the state of Indiana. What that has to do with Langston, I will never know, but the comparison to his brother (although the two play positions that are polar opposites) is hard to avoid.
Obviously, there’s a very close relationship between the two, but it’s important that Langston makes his own football reputation outside of his relation to Morgan. Fighting to be known outside of his brother’s shadow (at least in the state of Indiana) is what will put Langston ahead of the average 6’5, 240-pound defensive tackle.
Langston, with his speed and his ability in high school to get to the quarterback (and clobber the quarterback), will most likely play defensive end at UK instead of the tackle position he’s used to. There will be some obvious adjustments to be made in his playing style if he’s learning a new position, but I expect great things out of Langston. Currently, guys like Collins Ukwu, Farrington Huguenin and Mike Douglas are ahead of him on the depth chart, but a redshirt year wouldn’t hurt Langston by any means. Like I said, he’ll most likely be splitting time between track and football this year, so he’ll have to get used to the rigors of being that kind of an athlete, in addition to learning how to compete against SEC-level talent.
Keep your eyes on this kid in the future. One day, he has the potential to be an absolute monster on the field.