Jamie Kohl first came across Tyler Newsome during Kohl’s Kicking’s Southern Showcase in Atlanta in December.
“I saw a big, strong athlete who was kind of learning the fundamentals of kicking and punting,” kicking guru Kohl said of the 2014 Georgia specialist (pictured together).
“He was really just a raw punter.”
Newsome finished just outside of the top 10 for an event that featured 170 prospects. He would see Kohl again a month later at Kohl’s National Underclassmen Challenge in Orlando.
“He finished top three in the kickoff competition,” said Kohl. “We had the guys who were the best in the nation there, the kid that’s going to Alabama (JK Scott), the kid that’s going to Tennessee (Aaron Medley), the kid that’s going to Virginia (Gary Wunderlich), the kids that are rated on ESPN 1, 2 and 3.
“Tyler held his own on kickoffs and showed improvements on field goals.”
That upward trajectory has only continued for Newsome, according to Kohl.
“We’ve probably seen him three to four times since and done some work with him,” said Kohl. “He has blossomed into one of the most talented punters in the nation. I feel that with some extra coaching and just some improvement, he’s going to be an excellent, excellent college punter.
“He’s 6-3 and a good 205 pounds, he’s a strong and explosive kid. His A-ball is as good as anybody in this nation. When he hits it, there isn’t anybody across the country who is going to outshine him. That’s what’s impressive about him.”
Last week, Newsome was at Notre Dame’s camp, where he won the kickoff and punting competition and walked away with a scholarship offer. A day later, he called Brian Kelly and offered his verbal commitment to the Irish.
“They’re looking at him as a kickoff/punter who can back up on field goals and provide depth,” said Kohl. “I think what they’re really bringing him in for is a punter/kickoff guy and that’s a hard thing to find at the high school level.
“Most punters develop in college and that’s just the way it is. There’s not a lot of emphasis on punting in high school and it’s undercoached. It’s more about getting the ball off and not letting anything bad happen. At the college level and with Notre Dame’s scheme and what they’re trying to do, they need a guy who is going to hang the ball up high. They need somebody who can kick in cold conditions, windy conditions and that requires leg strength.”
Kohl says Newsome’s ability jumps out.
“If you went out to a park and had the top kids in the nation go out and compete, grandmothers in the stands who don’t know anything about kicking or punting would see that this kid is talented,” he said. “He has the ability to hit ball that makes people go, ‘Wow!’”
Like all high school specialists, Newsome needs to continue working to become consistent.
“The key is to continue to refine in the coming years,” Kohl said. “Refinement is key for every punter and Tyler is no different, but I feel very confident with the Notre Dame staff who is in place that they’ll be able to develop him. They’ve developed a lot of punters over the years, not only at Notre Dame in the short time they’ve been there, but at Coach Kelly’s previous stops.
“I think what they’re doing is taking a very, very talented kid and they’re excited about it. I know that.”
Kohl believes Newsome will fit in with what the Irish ask of their punter.
“Notre Dame had a great punter last year with (Ben) Turk as far as what they did schematically and asking him to put it high, outside the numbers without a lot of return yardage,” said Kohl. “He did that and I think Tyler can do that. I think Tyler, potentially, can improve. I know he can.”
Kohl can’t wait to see what Newsome’s future holds.
“I’m excited for the potential that he has. He has that quintessential NFL-leg. His A-ball is almost as good as NFL punters right now. By the time he hits the weight room, by the time he gets in the program, it's going to be exciting how good he can be.”