Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Newsome looking to master gift of grab in second season at UConn

It took all of five games during Arkeel Newsome's freshman season at UConn to do one of the few things he did not accomplish during his final two seasons during a record-shattering career at Ansonia High School.

It was in a 36-10 home loss to Temple that Newsome caught a pair of passes including one resulting in a scintillating 74-yard touchdown. He caught three more passes in the next game (a 12-3 loss to Tulane).

Newsome caught a total of seven passes as a junior and senior with the Chargers and never more than one in a game. In his three seasons as the Chargers' featured back Newsome caught a total of 12 passes. He nearly matched that total as a freshman at UConn as his 11 receptions were the most for any running back for the Huskies during the 2014 season. Realizing that his pass-catching duties could be a major part of UConn's offense this season resulted in Newsome paying extra attention to that part of his skill set during the offseason.

"Now I am (catching passes) a lot," Newsome said. "I am working on the catching with the JUGS machine and also that focus on the ball when it is coming at me.

"I am just ready for whatever they throw at me, giving it 100 percent with whatever I do."
Newsome was named as a co-starter at tailback along with fellow sophomore Ron Johnson. UConn coach Bob Diaco didn't feel like it was appropriate to name one of the two backs over the other one because they will both be featured prominently in the offense.

Beginning on Thursday night when Villanova comes to Rentschler Field, we will get the first look at how both Newsome and Johnson will be utilized under first-year offensive coordinator Frank Verducci said.

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