Kevin Newsome arrived at Penn State four springs ago as a four-star prospect set to succeed Daryll Clark, the eventual two-time All-Big Ten signal caller. He left the Nittany Lions in August of 2011 after being passed over on the depth chart by former walk-on Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden, another touted recruit who ended up leaving the program himself less than a year later.
Newsome, the Chesepeake, Va., native, ended up at football-less Tidewater (Va.) Community College watching the 2011 season from afar, before being denied a waiver to transfer to Temple the following January. He finally ended up with the Owls one day before camp began last August, studied the playbook from sun-up to sun-down, then appeared in just two games during the program's inaugural Big East campaign, misfiring on his lone pass attempt.
Now Newsome is watching his final spring before his final college season from the sidelines, this after entering the spring as the No. 5 quarterback on the depth chart, switching to H-back and promptly separating his shoulder, which will keep him out through the April 20 spring game. The 6-foot-2, 231-pounder admits the move from under center was tough to swallow at first, but he recognizes that the clock is ticking on his college career and that it might be his only hope to contribute in a fashion to similar to the one that he and everyone envisioned he would just four short years ago.
"It was difficult," Newsome told ESPN.com. "Being a quarterback my whole life, really fighting for it over the years, it feels like it was a part of me. But at the end of the day, I look at how much I love football, being around my teammates and working out with them at 5 in the morning, grinding on the field together, being a family, realizing this is your senior year, this is your last shot to play the sport that you love the most. So it came to that point where this is best way I can help the team to succeed, and that's what I'm going to do."
He said the transition to the backfield was relatively smooth, citing his understanding of the offense from his quarterback days. He has always been a solid runner, netting 57 rushing yards on five carries last season and 161 yards and three scores on 33 carries during his two years in State College, Pa.
Newsome, who has an associate's degree, said he will graduate from Temple's school of media and communication this August, before the season kicks off at Notre Dame later that month. The piano-playing 22-year-old recognizes the expectations that are now a distant memory, but he is buying-in to what new coach Matt Rhule and his staff are selling. Newsome hopes to make the most of one final shot to contribute, once healthy.
"Right now, honestly, I think about it every once in awhile -- not all day, every once in awhile," Newsome said. "It keeps me motivated to work hard, work harder every single day, but at same time after football, being in college is over, I'm graduating. So that's my No. 1 priority, to have a scholastic achievement while also working hard in football.
"When you become 22 years old, you grow into college. When you're 17 until you're 22, you realize football isn't everything. I came in as an All-American out of high school at 17 years old, it took a lot of disappointments and a lot of lessons, and you learn to get to this point now where I'm 22 and realize that Kevin Newsome isn't just football. Kevin Newsome is a man. Kevin Newsome has to be a man for his family. Pretty much in a nutshell, this is my last year and I'm going to do the best I can in football to help the team."