Ever wonder what the former UCF greats have been up to since graduating? We know you do.
The Back in the Day Q&A will feature interviews from some of your favorite former players across all sports. From favorite games to why they chose UCF, we’ll provide insight in their own words on what it was like for these athletes when they were a Knight.
UCF Football, 2006-2010
Newsome was a lightly recruited two-star wide receiver coming out of high school that turned into a very successful player. He capped off his UCF career with a 616 yard, 3 touchdown senior season in which UCF won their first bowl game and cracked the top-25 for the first time. His performance his senior year was enough to get him an invite to the NFL Combine where he ran a 4.51 40-yard dash.
Despite going undrafted, Newsome still had a four year NFL career where he spent time with the Jaguars, Steelers, Chiefs and Cowboys. In total, he appeared in eight NFL games, starting two, while hauling in five catches for 73 yards. He’s one of eleven wide receivers from UCF to ever start an NFL game.
UCF Career Highlights
- 65 receptions
- 986 receiving yards
- 7 receiving touchdowns
- 34.4 average yards per kick return
What made you choose UCF over Akron, Ohio and FAU, to name a few?
Honestly, I hate the cold. All of the schools out of the state didn’t have a chance from the beginning. USF was the closest school but they were attempting to force me to play defense. UCF was the only school that made sense in my opinion. My sister and aunt both attended UCF so I decided that I would keep it a family thing.
After not seeing the field in your first two years at UCF, was there ever a time you thought about transferring?
I did think of transferring a couple of times. It wasn’t an issue with my performance that blocked my time from the field. Coach O’Leary and I had very different views about my fraternity involvement. I had to prove to him that I still held football as my top priority. Eventually, he realized that I could maintain a high GPA and consistently make plays on the field. We had a talk one day and I flat out told him that I wanted to be there and I was willing to do whatever it takes to show him that I could do both. Eventually, he gave me an opportunity and my first catch was a 50+ yard catch and run to the house vs. ECU. That pretty much sealed the deal.
What do you think about UCF’s 2017 National Championship claim?
Makes sense to me. I’m with it.
You had three 100+ receiving yard games in a four game span during your senior year. What lead to that breakout stretch?
I was always a good receiver. I was a guy who could run once that ball was in my hand. It just took getting the ball to me to be honest. The game plans were solid. Aiken, Watters, and I all had our own little talents and we played it to the best of our abilities.
What was your favorite/most memorable game as a UCF Knight and why?
I don’t know if I have a particular game but my senior season was the best. I felt that the team clicked on all cylinders that season. It was the most cohesion that I’ve ever experienced on any team that I’ve been on.
How would you describe your relationship with George O’Leary?
At first, our relationship was rough. However, I really gained a lot of respect for him as time went on. It took maturity to understand what he was shaping us for. Without that style of coaching, a lot of us wouldn’t have been prepared for the NFL.
Which former teammates do you keep in touch with the most?
Brian Watters, Kamar Aiken, Bruce Miller, and Ronnie Weaver were just hanging out in Atlanta a few weeks ago. We’re all in contact still but I probably speak to Brian the most. He was my roommate for 5 years in college and still my best friend. We’re always laughing about something still to this day.
How often do you return to campus to catch a game?
I didn’t get a chance to visit last year because I moved out of state. Typically, I make homecoming every year.
Do you feel that you were given a fair chance at playing in the NFL?
Not really. I think that I gave it a solid run but it’s very difficult to break the political nature of things as a free agent. Often times, I would perform above and beyond and still get overlooked when contracts came into play. After four years of it, I was done mentally and decided that I would be done. I decided to walk away from the game for my own sanity. I needed something secure and consistent. The NFL couldn’t offer that to me and I knew it. I enjoyed it for what it was, however, I don’t miss the foolishness that encompassed it.
What do you do now that you’re retired from football?
I started working for the government after football. I now reside in Washington, DC.