Aledo wide receiver Ryan Newsome, one of the top recruits in Texas, committed to UCLA on Friday during an announcement ceremony at Aledo High School.
“I knew I had to choose the best place for me,” Newsome said. “It was so hard, because we’re family. This family — we’re the tightest bunch you could ever be around. [Texas] is so close. It’s going to be so hard to leave this state.”
Newsome paused several times to compose himself during his announcement as he sat behind a table on the stage of the school’s auditorium.
“I didn’t have my mind made up until I got up on this stage,” Newsome said. “It was very tough.”
Newsome was named the Star-Telegram Super Team offensive player of the year as a senior, scoring 25 touchdowns as a receiver, running back, punt returner and kick returner. He hauled in 54 catches for 1,073 yards and had 57 carries for 470 yards as the Bearcats won a second consecutive state championship. He returned six punts and one kickoff for touchdowns.
But it was his electric junior season, when he tied a national record with seven punt-return touchdowns, that sent his recruitment into a frenzy. His list of scholarship offers grew from fewer than 10 to more than 30.
Last summer, he trimmed his choices to five: Texas, UCLA, Oklahoma, Oregon and Notre Dame. Then, during the fall, he swapped Oregon and Notre Dame with Tennessee and Ole Miss. After Aledo’s season, he dropped Ole Miss and Oklahoma from the running before eliminating Tennessee last week.
The only twist remaining before signing day is whether Oklahoma can push itself back into the picture. The Sooners’ new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley visited Newsome on Tuesday. Riley, who plans to install an Air Raid offense at OU, was hired after Newsome dropped the Sooners from his list of finalists. And despite Newsome’s commitment to UCLA, OU coach Bob Stoops is still expected to visit Newsome.
“I truly believe that my word is my bond, and I’m going to stick to that,” Newsome said. “That’s all I have at the end of the day.”