Impossible To Reach

Programs are still calling Newman.

If your call came from an area code outside of Louisville, or you weren't programmed in Brandon Newman's phone, there was a time when he wasn't taking your call. As Notre Dame struggled through a 3-9 season this fall, coaches from other major programs continually called the 6-foot-1, 305-pound four-star nose tackle from Pleasure Ridge Park High, questioning his verbal commitment to the Irish.

Reporters were doing it as well.

"They're still trying," Brandon Newman stated. "The thing is, I stopped answering my phone."

Recently, that hasn't stopped everybody.

"Kentucky's head coach Rich Brooks stopped by the school to speak to my mother, she is a teacher there, to ask about me," Newman began. "She was real up front with him and told him exactly where I was going for college, and that would be to Notre Dame."

By the sounds of it, Newman should have just had his mother answer his phone.

Newman tried a couple times this season, but he just couldn't make it up to South Bend for one of the Irish's seven home games. So out of the 12 or so players making official visits for Notre Dame's banquet on Dec. 8, nobody is more excited than him. Newman is bringing as many family members as possible.

It will be Newman's fourth trip to campus. He came up for the spring game and fell in love. He came back during the summer to make his verbal commitment. One more time over the summer, he stayed with future Irish teammate Braxston Cave for a few days, who's from nearby Mishawaka.

"Braxston and his teammates were playing in some kind of passing league," Newman said. He also keeps in touch with fellow commits Sean Cwynar, Darius Fleming and Robert Blanton. "I acted like a coach so I could get in for free. I hung around with Braxston and his teammates while I was there."

Tuesday night, Newman, his mother, step-father and girlfriend went out to eat with Notre Dame defensive coordinator Corwin Brown.

"It was good," Newman said. He spoke with the coaching staff regularly during the season. "After dinner we came back to the house and hung out. We just covered all the basics. Really with him, we just talked about life stuff. You can never talk Notre Dame to death, but we've talked about the logistics plenty of times before."

Newman's senior season didn't go as planned. He didn't know his stats nor did he care. The only stats he remembered was the disappointing 4-7 record, and opening round 21-20 playoff loss. In Kentucky, every team is eligible for the state's postseason.

"As much as I want to win, you can't make other kids want to win and want to play," Newman said. "We scheduled real tough because we had a strong class of seniors that were starting for two or three years. Things came up, and everyone wanted to blame the coaches. But the players play. I blame me and my peers for the season we had.

Though his final season didn't end the way he wanted, Newman's prep career is going to end on a high note. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American game, Jan. 5, in San Antonio Texas, where he will join several of his future Irish teammates.

"It's a great opportunity," Newman said. "I honestly don't think I'm the best guy for it, but I'll take anything I can get. It's a beautiful thing. I'm looking forward to meeting all the guys and getting some autographs."

Don't take that as lack of confidence from a guy that has signed plenty of autographs himself.

"I'm very confident in what I can do, and I know I can do it well," Newman stated. "But to bring it down to those final couple guys they're choosing from, it makes you feel weird about it. I feel like some other guys maybe missed out on the chance more than me. I know what I'm doing and can do it well. I know I'm good at what I do and that's playing nose guard.

"I know I can play it in the 3-4 defense."

So do the coaches still trying to contact him.

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