I know Texas might not be Texas right now in terms of the Longhorns owning the state like they used to, but any time an out of state program can go in and beat them head to head it's going to be noteworthy.
So when Ryan Newsome surprised many today by choosing UCLA over Texas, it was a big deal. The Bruins are adding a weapon for 5 star quarterback Josh Rosen to get the ball to, but just what kind of weapon are they adding in Newsome?
Ryan Newsome - 4 star slot receiver/returner
With Newsome, the story can't be told if it's him being labeled as simply a wide receiver. He has specific skills and the size, or lack of size, that puts him in another category.
Whether it's returning kicks or punts, Newsome is a dangerous player that has the ability to break open a game. Some of that has to do with speed, but just as much to do with his vision. His special teams units block well for him and he does a great job of reading blocks and knowing when to accelerate and hit it. It would be surprising if he didn't at least get a serious look at returning kicks and/or punts as a true freshman.
On offense, he's a true slot receiver that can win with speed and quickness. He's a difficult player to cover and should be able to exploit most match-ups versus safeties who may be asked to play man coverage against him. He needs to improve the consistency of his route running and not round off his routes as much, but he definitely showed some improvement in this area as a senior. It should definitely be emphasized with him as he progresses with the Bruins.
He didn't get to make as many plays after the catch as you would expect, but that's mainly because he was forced to adjust to some poorly thrown footballs. When the ball did hit him in stride, he showed some of that great quickness and lateral agility. He can make defenders miss in space and that's also why he can be an option as a runner too on jet sweeps and reverses.
The one obvious concern overall is his size and at 5'8" and around 170, he's not going win too many jump balls. But that's not his game and he won't be used in that capacity. Despite his size, he is a much better blocker in the running game than you would expect from a player of his stature. There are bigger slots/hybrid tight ends that don't block as well as Newsome. He puts in the effort and isn't a liability in this area.
I don't expect Newsome to be a number one receiver for the Bruins during his career, but he has the potential to produce a lot of splash plays and is a fantastic compliment to L.J. Reed, a big receiver who should be a redzone threat.