For a few weeks, Peyton Newell was fooled into thinking his recruitment was slowing. Considered one of the top players in the state of Kansas, the Hiawatha High School junior experienced a slight lull in new scholarship offers and his phone stopped buzzing off the hook. In retrospect, he should have savored the break.
Things were right back in full swing on Tuesday night.
It was then that N.C. State became offer No. 18 for sought-after 2014 prospect. According to Newell, Vanderbilt and Texas A&M could follow suit in the future. Pretty soon, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound prospect will be begging for another rest. At this point, his recruitment is a job and he's treating it as such.
"It's starting to ramp up again," Newell said. "At the end of the day, it's kind of like a business for me. I'm enjoying it, but the whole process is a business."
The newest project on his plate? Researching the Wolfpack program, which he admittedly knows little about. That will change soon, as his information-gathering process begins now. Newell has it down to a science. He's done it 17 other times, after all.
"What I do is wait until the school the offers to take a good look into the program," Newell said. "N.C. State has done their research on me, so it's time for me to do mine now. I'll really look into it now.
"I know (Wolfpack lineman) Rob Crisp. I met him at an All-American game. I was young, and he was a senior. That's pretty much my only tie to N.C. State. "
Newell's refusal to name a group of favorites is the product of both uncertainty and gamesmanship. He's not interested in limiting his options or alienating a single school on his growing list. Instead, he's taking the wide-open approach. That's not say he won't tip his hand a little, though.
"Oklahoma State, Nebraska and Notre Dame are definitely great," he said. "They're not my top three or anything like that right now, but they are showing the most interest and things like that."
As for unofficial visits, Newell has a few upcoming. He's set to check out the campus of Nebraska on Oct. 27 and has a trip to Notre Dame set for Nov.17. He's kicking around the idea of checking out Texas A&M and Northwestern in the near future as well.
Projecting an early pecking order in the race to land Newell's commitment is difficult. His opinions on each school are murky by design. What remains clear, on the other hand, is the criteria he'll use to make a choice. The spiel sounds the same as the one used by most other high-profile prospects.
"Being close to home won't affect my final decision," Newell said. "I'll go for the best fit for me. I just want to see how my visits go and how I get along with the other players. It's going to be about the relationship I have with my position coach, too."
Through six games this season, Newell has recorded 42 tackles, including 16 for a loss. He's also notched six sacks and forced five fumbles. His Hiawatha team boasts a 5-2 record.