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Chinander’s Iowa roots pay off as Huskers land Newsom

July 25, 2018 GMT

At the time Erik Chinander made the prediction, he had to joke: He just might get in trouble for saying it.

But it was March, and Nebraska’s new defensive coordinator wanted to make a point about recruiting in Iowa. He grew up there. He played high school and college football there. He coached college football there. If there is one place in America where Chinander must know every recruiting nook and cranny, it’s NU’s neighbor to the east.

“Since I grew up in Iowa, I’ll have the state of Iowa, and we’re going to steal some from there,” Chinander said.

Put one on the board for 2019.

Before coach Scott Frost made his first appearance at Big Ten media days in Chicago, Waverly-Shell Rock defensive end Mosai Newsom on Monday committed to the Huskers, becoming the first commit from Iowa since John Raridon in the 2016 class. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Newsom — a three-star recruit according to the 247Sports composite — had an offer from the home-state Hawkeyes. Another finalist, Michigan State, had offered too, along with Minnesota and Northwestern.

But Nebraska held Newsom’s attention all spring. He visited campus four times, including the spring game, after receiving an offer in late February. Chinander, defensive line coach Mike Dawson and Frost all connected with him. Newsom’s first-ever college football game was watching NU and Tennessee-Chattanooga in 2011.

“The history that Nebraska has and where they’re at and Coach Frost’s determination and the hard work that I know is going to be put in at Nebraska, it kind of blew my mind,” Newsom told The World-Herald. “The dedication he has and the passion that he has is awesome.”

Newsom said he will start working at end, though coaches want linemen to be flexible about where they play. The 3-4 defense fits him; he plays a true 3-4 end at Waverly-Shell Rock, where he had 38 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss last season. He plays basketball and competes in track as well, and he was named to the 247Sports U.S. Army National Combine first team.

Newsom’s coach, Mark Hubbard, said in the spring that Newsom was just “scratching the surface” of his potential. He’s smart, too, as Ivy League schools showed interest. Newsom said he’s spent much of the offseason working on hand placement and getting stronger. His father, Marcus Newsom, is the men’s and women’s track coach at Wartburg College in Waverly and also has a football passion dating back to his own playing days at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Mosai Newsom said he grew up a Kansas fan but became convinced this summer that Nebraska is where he could realize his full potential.

“For sure, Iowa is a great school,” Newsom said. “But my first college football game was a Nebraska football game, so it was something that I just wanted to do. I just used this July (dead) period to think and pray on things. I just realized Nebraska was the place for me.”

He becomes NU’s 14th commit overall and the third true defensive line recruit in the class, joining Pima Community College nose tackle Tony Fair and Norfolk Catholic’s Ethan Piper who, depending on how much he grows, could be a nose tackle or a defensive end.

Newsom becomes the seventh overall commit inside a 500-mile radius, joining Nebraska in-state commits Piper, Nick Henrich, Garrett Nelson and Garrett Snodgrass, Blanchard (Okla.) wideout Jamie Nance, Tulsa (Okla.) running back Thomas Grayson and Littleton (Colo.) Valor Christian quarterback Luke McCaffrey.​