High School Sports

Hiawatha defensive end Peyton Newell, a target of KU and K-State, prepares to unveil college choice

It’s not often that one of the finest high school football players in the state of Kansas comes from the tiny burg of Hiawatha, a town of 3,100 tucked in the northeast corner of the state.

But Peyton Newell, a defensive end at Hiawatha High School, has cemented himself as one of the top defensive prospects in the Midwest. Drawing scholarship offers from more than 30 schools, Newell has emerged as a top target for Bill Snyder, Charlie Weis and a handful of other head coaches in the region.

So where is Newell headed? We’ll find out on Friday, when he unveils his college choice at a ceremony in Hiawatha. His final list of schools includes Kansas, Kansas State, Nebraska and South Carolina.

Rated as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com, Newell, 6 feet 3 and 280 pounds, made a name for himself on the summer camp circuit, putting up big numbers in the bench press (405) and 40-yard dash (4.86). Nebraska is believed to be the heavy favorite to land the much-hyped defensive end, but Weis has put in plenty of effort and resources to keep Newell within the state borders.

Newell is currently rated as the fourth-best prospect in the state, according to Rivals. The top two prospects, Olathe South offensive tackle Braden Smith and Derby tight end Deandre Goolsby, are both four-star prospects who are expected to bypass offers from KU and K-State. Goolsby, though, has K-State ties — his father Brian played there — and he has the Wildcats in his top five. The No. 3 prospect in the state, Gardner Edgerton running back Traevohn Wrench, has already committed to Kansas.