As a sophomore, Douglas Newsome had his season cut short by a broken leg. Two years later, the Orange County High School senior has fully recovered from the injury and is flourishing.
He plans to continue flourishing as a Division I college football player next season at Charlotte. Newsome recently committed to play football for the Conference USA program.
“Charlotte always stayed in touch with me,” Newsome said. “I was a big factor for their recruiting and they showed constant love that other schools didn’t do much of. They really made it feel like home. Charlotte stayed in contact with me ever since they met me, so I knew they had genuine love for me since the start. It’s also close to my dad, so my both my mom and dad can be there whenever I need them.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound defensive back’s journey to becoming a Division I football commit began with his leg injury, which Newsome says motivated him to perfect his craft.
“It made me look big-picture about football,” Newsome said. “I wasn’t as disappointed as you think. I felt like I needed that to step back and take mental reps on life. But this upcoming year, I will be a whole different athlete.”
The work began with offseason conditioning. Newsome dedicated himself to the weight room and has put on approximately 20 pounds of muscle to help prepare himself for the rigors of the gridiron.
He returned to the field last season and was an instrumental part of the Hornets’ late-season Region 4B playoff push. As a receiver, Newsome caught 18 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 10 carries for 96 yards on the ground.
Defensively, Newsome posted 21 tackles, including two for a loss, and added two interceptions and three pass breakups as a lockdown cornerback for Coach Jesse Lohr’s team.
After playing sparingly as a freshman, Newsome was prepared for a breakout sophomore season. He only played two games for the Hornets before he broke his leg in practice and had to miss the rest of the season.
Despite missing time with the injury, college coaches still saw Newsome’s potential at the next level. Newsome received interest from a number of programs, including Wake Forest, James Madison, Lehigh, Connecticut, VMI and Christopher Newport, but Charlotte offered the right fit.
“I love how they are one of the top programs with a big engineering program and a high percentage rate for graduated athletes,” he said. “The coaches loved my film and how I made big plays on both sides of the ball.”
Newsome is expected to play defensive back at Charlotte and coaches believe he can be an impact performer in the secondary and potentially on special teams as a returner.
“They plan for me to be one of their star defensive backs and I plan to do so,” Newsome said.
With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on college recruiting, the senior cornerback admits the process wasn’t what he imagined it would be.
“It’s been really tough not being able to step on campus of these great schools and feel the vibe, both football- and academic-wise,” Newsome said. “Plus, it makes it harder for some kids because other schools had a [2020 fall football] season, while Virginia didn’t and a lot of kids lost opportunities to show what they’ve worked on all quarantine.”
With this college decision finalized, Newsome said he feels some relief, but understands that the work is still all ahead of him.
“I’m still humble and excited to play at the next level and glad to do it at a place that feels like home and with a great atmosphere,” Newsome said. “It shows the hard work paid off, but the grind doesn’t stop. It’s only up from here. I want to be one of the top defensive backs in the country.”
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