photo via 247Sports
Three-star Clayton (Ohio) Northmont defensive end Gabe Newburg chose an odd time to commit to a school, at least if you want said commitment to get a lot of attention: he announced on Twitter shortly before the national championship game tipped off.
As it turns out, that's because Newburg had a plan. While he and his family are Michigan fans, he wanted to see if Ohio State would come forth with an offer. Per Land of 10, Urban Meyer waffled, and that made the choice simple:
“It went well,” Newburg said of his unofficial visit to Ohio State last Friday. “I watched their practice, went on a tour of the campus, and then talked to Coach Meyer for a little while. He talked to me a lot about how close they were to offering me. We talked for a little while. We’d talk and then he’d turn to one of his assistants and say, ‘I like this kid. We gotta get him.’ He said that a few times.
“He told me to be patient and asked if I could wait a month before committing somewhere else, but I can’t do that, man. I know what I want to do and I’m going to do it. I can’t wait around.”
While one would normally worry about such a commitment sticking, Newburg—who, incidentally, added his Michigan offer recently when he stopped by campus on his way back from East Lansing—went with his childhood favorite:
"That’s a dream offer man. I've been a Michigan fan my whole life," Newburg told 247's Brice Marich upon the offer. "My whole family is actually. I just told him how long I’ve been waiting for this one and showed him pictures of my house on game day and the 'M Den' inside my house. He stood up gave me and my parents a huge hug and said, ‘You guys are my kind of people.' My mom and dad were with me. My dad was very pumped up and my mom got tears in her eyes (when I got the offer).”
He followed up his commitment by lighting up Ohio State's Barstool affiliate, so his Michigan career is off to an excellent start.
Newburg is the seventh commit in the 2019 class and the third at defensive end, joining five-star SDE Chris Hinton and (potentially waffling) top-100 WDE Stephen Herron. Michigan's class now ranks third in the country and first in the Big Ten on the 247 composite rankings.
|3*, 5.6, #53 WDE||NR DE||
3*, 85, #55 WDE,
3*, #53 WDE,
Rivals and 247 both have Newburg in the middling three-star range, while ESPN hasn't bothered to evaluate him yet (surprise).
The two sites that have evaluated list him at 6'5", 230 pounds (ESPN docks him an inch). He's got a long frame with plenty of room to add weight and could wind up at either weakside or strongside end depending on which skills he develops.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and the rest.]
There isn't much out there on Newburg in the way of scouting. 247's Allen Trieu tracked down his coach last month after Newburg reeled in his MSU offer:
I knew Gabe was going to be a special player the first time I saw him play in 8th grade. I was the defensive coordinator at the time, I hadn’t taken over the program yet, and literally, without exaggerating, he made every tackle in the game. It was something I hadn’t ever seen before and I’ve coached 27 years. ...
He is a special recruit. I think that is what kind of kid he is and what kind of student he is. He is a straight A, early out student who takes all advanced classes. His 16 cores are already done, so he is a kid who can go early if he wants to. As far as the type of kid he is, his dad is a teacher here and the district head wrestling coach, so he’s wrestled for 13 years here at school and through that, has developed great balance, leverage and grip strength. All of that correlates to football very well, really nothing matches up better, especially at his position. So when you add in his wrestling skills, it’s so rare to get a kid like that. I’m blessed to have him. He is a great, great young man, a fantastic citizen in the school – he’s a leader. Add on to it that he’s 6-foot-5, 235 pounds and a great student and he is really the total package.
I think his coach likes having him on the team.
The Wolverine's Brandon Brown took a look at Newburg's junior film after his commitment:
Newburg has some position versatility at 6-5, 230 pounds. He's got good length, solid athleticism and succeeds with his hand on the ground, from a stand up position and even on offense as a tight end. It's hard to say exactly how he'll be used at Michigan but he's athletic and long enough to be intriguing at several spots.
For now, he's considered a weakside defensive end but he would be an intriguing weapon in Don Brown's blitz happy system if he doesn't get any bulkier.
247's Bill Greene, a longtime Ohio high school guru, posted the most in-depth report on Newburg in the wake of his commitment. He brings up the wrestling technique, "great leverage" (!!!), frame, and quick feet among Newburg's positives, and believes he can add a good deal of weight without losing that quickness. Even his concerns are generally positive—while he doesn't see Newburg as a five-star talent, he certainly sees a contributor:
WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS WITH NEWBURG? This is not a super athletic freak at all, but rather Newburg will beat people with technique, hard work and his intensity. He will need to get stronger in the weight room, and he will more than likely need a redshirt year, but he should be able to get on the field by his second year. While there might not be the upside or ceiling of a five-star recruit, the bust out rate is basically zero with Newburg. This is a kid that will maximize his potential, and be the player he's supposed to be. And we won't know what that is until he's in the program a few years, and we see the physical development.
Greene said there's "absolutely" a chance Newburg gets a ratings bump from 247 once they get a chance to see him in pads again.
I took a couple looks at Newburg's junior film last night and liked what I saw. As Greene said, this isn't a guy who jumps out as a five-star athlete, but the more I watched, the more I liked his game. In addition to playing with good leverage, he's got a few pass-rushing tricks up his sleeve, including a quick spin move he uses both to the inside and outside. He stonewalls a couple double-teams in there. I think his best spot is strongside end, especially if Michigan wants a freak-athlete type on the weak side, and he could be a very dependable starter there who has some pass-rushing upside.
The Michigan State offer was Michigan's primary competition once Ohio State didn't come through. Newburg also holds offers from Iowa, Cincinnati, Rutgers, Harvard (classroom quotes: not just fluff), and most of the MAC.
Northmont is a D-I program in a small conference that fills out its schedule with some strong Ohio programs—they played Huber Heights Wayne and Springfield in the regular season last year, going 1-1 with an overtime loss, and eventually fell at Pickerington Central (Jake Butt's high school) in the playoffs. They've produced a handful of Power Five commits in the Rivals era (2002-present), including Ohio State defensive backs Kurt Coleman and CJ Barnett, Florida State offensive lineman Zebrie Sanders, and former Michigan linebacker Kaleb Ringer.
According to MaxPreps, Newburg recorded 58 tackles (27 solo), 10.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 11 games as a junior. He had 41 tackles (22 solo), 9.0 TFLs, 5.0 sacks, two forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown) as a sophomore.
FAKE 40 TIME
Newburg's Hudl page lists an unverified 4.73 40 time, which gets four FAKEs out of five—he's quick but that's an elite time. Perhaps more relevent, his page also claims a 330-pound bench press.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Newburg is a likely redshirt candidate so he can bulk up and gain a little separation from the other young defensive ends already on the roster. At least one—and, barring a rather shocking Rashan Gary return, almost certainly both—starting defensive end spot will be open after this fall, and little clarity at the moment about who will fill the two-deep. With Newburg's technique, he could work his way into the two-deep sooner than his current rankings would indicate.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It's prepared for a potential (read: likely) Stephen Herron departure to Stanford. Here's the class as it currently stands: