High-SchoolConnecticut: Arkeel Newsome


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Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The top underclassmen in high school football.

The state championships are over and the Class of 2012 had a great run, but it’s never too early to start looking at the impressive players in the Class of 2013 and beyond. Who’s going to rule the gridiron in Connecticut next season? We give you the early rundown of who to watch for.

5. Tim Boyle (JR), Xavier, QB
Credentials: Split snaps this year while helping Xavier win its second straight state championship; should be the full-time starter next year

4. Thomas Milone (JR), Masuk, WR
Credentials: Catching passes from Casey Cochran, Milone put up 1,019 yards and 16 touchdowns

3. Bryan Castelot (JR), Bunnell, QB
Credentials: Passed for 2,497 yards and 29 touchdowns this season; cut interceptions from 16 to 6

2. Andrew Isaacs (JR), Manchester, TE
Credentials: The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder has already committed to Boston College

1. Arkeel Newsome (SO), Ansonia, RB
Credentials: After setting the state record for rushing yards (3,763) and total TDs (62) this year, Newsome is the early frontrunner for 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year honors

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.

Tomorrow: The POWERADE Connecticut Weekly Basketball Rankings.

Did I miss someone who should be on the list? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and let me know about it.

Five Days of List-Mas: CT's A-List

December, 12, 2011

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you're putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you're making that special list for Santa, there's nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we're bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: Connecticut's A-Listers

What is an A-Lister? In Hollywood, it's the George Clooney and Julia Roberts crowd. In the NFL, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are A-Listers. In the NBA, it’s LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. The A-List is the best of the best. So which athletes can be considered A-Listers in Connecticut this year? That’s where today’s list comes in. Regardless of sport, here’s our list of the top five A-List athletes in the state.

Casey Cochran, Senior
Masuk, Football
Credentials: Two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year, Connecticut's all-time leader in touchdown passes and passing yardage. Committed to UConn.

Kris Dunn, Senior
New London, Basketball
Credentials: Ranked No. 29 in ESPNU 100; led New London to state championship in 2010-11. Committed to Providence.

Kuran Iverson, Junior
Northwest Catholic, Basketball
Credentials: Ranked No. 30 in ESPNU 60; averaged 14.6 points and 8.1 rebounds as a sophomore.

Arkeel Newsome, Sophomore
Ansonia, Football
Credentials: Broke the state record for rushing yards (3,763) and touchdowns (62) in a single season. Led Ansonia to Class M state championship.

Cristoval "Boo" Nieves, Senior
Kent School, Hockey
Credentials: This isn't the first "A-List" for Nieves. The NHL Central Scouting service lists him as an "A" prospect, meaning he's a potential first-round pick in the next draft.

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.

Tomorrow: The top underclassman football players from Connecticut.

Think I missed someone who should be on the A-List? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and make your case.

Football: State championship picks

December, 9, 2011

The Game:
Holy Cross-Waterbury (11-1) vs. Cromwell (10-2)
Friday, 6:30 p.m.

The Players:
This is a classic matchup between a dominant running team and an unstoppable passing attack. Holy Cross loves to pound it, with a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Dave DiGiorgi and Adrian Brown, while Cromwell features the most prolific quarterback in the state in Anthony Morales (42 TD passes).

The Prediction:
Holy Cross has the personnel up front to dominate the line of scrimmage and possess the ball. If the Crusaders can control the clock, I can see them winning a fairly low-scoring game.


The Game:
Ansonia (13-0) vs. Ledyard (11-1)
Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

The Players:
Understatement alert: Ansonia will lean on running back Arkeel Newsome in this game. The sophomore running back has already run for more than 3,300 yards on the season, and he's scored 54 touchdowns. So yeah, expect Newsome to get a few carries. For Ledyard, it will be about defense. The Colonels haven't allowed a single point in their past two games, so Newsome will have his work cut out. Also, Ledyard has a stud running back of its own in Alex Manwaring (more than 2,000 yards this year).

The Prediction:
This game turns into a land war between Manwaring and Newsome, with both approaching 200 yards for the game. But Newsome's breakaway ability (and dominant offensive line) wear down the Colonels and Ansonia pulls away in the fourth quarter.


The Game:
Daniel Hand (12-0) vs. New Canaan (11-1)
Saturday, 2 p.m.

The Players:
New Canaan looked dead in the water last week, trailing undefeated Windsor 24-7 in the second quarter. But quarterback Matt Milano led the Rams all the way back for a last-second victory. Daniel Hand also scored style points for its win last week, as the Tigers took down the top team in the state in routing Masuk, 35-14. Nick Vitale caught 12 passes for 148 yards in the win.

The Prediction:
Hand has played great defense all season, especially last week in holding the state's most explosive offense to just 14 points. But New Canaan proved it can light up the scoreboard in a hurry by storming back to beat Windsor. I think the Rams ride the hot hand of Milano and spoil another perfect season, making up for last year's loss in the Class L title game.


The Game:
Xavier (12-0) vs. Staples (11-0)
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

The Players:
Staples has a stable of backs who can carry the load (Joey Zelkowitz, Jon Heil, Nick Kelly), but NO ONE moves the ball against Xavier. The Falcons have an historic defense that allowed just eight points per game on the season, including three shutouts. Senior linebacker Jovan Santos is legitimately terrifying, racking up a team-high seven sacks, while senior defensive back Ryan Jacobucci has seven interceptions (one returned for a TD).

The Prediction:
With two quality defenses on the field, I see this one staying close for most of the night. But Staples isn't diverse enough on offense to have success against the Xavier D. Look for the Falcons to crack it open in the second half, with Jacobucci making a big play to change the game, either an INT or a big reception.

Think I made a bad call? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and let me know about it.

Week 6 football picks

October, 20, 2011
The Week 6 picks are in. I don't want to disappoint, but I should tell you up front that there are no major upsets in the making this weekend. I think New Britain has a legitimate shot to take down No. 7 Conard, but I don't feel like that outcome would shock too many people.

Note: You won't see the Xavier-Shelton game here, because I'm saving that for an in-depth preview tomorrow.

Week 6 picks

Middletown (4-1) at No. 10 Windsor (5-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Don't sleep on Windsor junior QB Quinn Fleeting — he's on a 30-TD pace.

No. 7 Conard (4-0) at New Britain (3-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Like a rock-climber who self-amputates in order to survive, New Britain is clawing its way back from an 0-2 start.

No. 1 Masuk (5-0) at Immaculate (0-5)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
My apologies for putting this game in the picks lineup, I don't want to offend Immaculate fans with this prediction.
MASUK 49, IMMACULATE 0 (end third quarter)

St. Joseph-Trumbull (1-4) at No. 3 New Canaan (5-0)
Saturday, 2 p.m.
In good weather conditions, I think New Canaan ends this game early.

No. 4 Daniel Hand (5-0) at Wilbur Cross (1-3)
Friday, 3:30
Hand is coming off a huge win over Notre Dame-West Haven, but don't expect a letdown here.

Wilton (3-2) at No. 5 Darien (5-0)
Saturday, 2 p.m.
Darien should hold Wilton to single digits in this one, which is enough to win comfortably.

Watertown (2-3) at No. 8 Ansonia (5-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
If Arkeel Newsome only runs for 250 yards, will people be disappointed?

Think you could make better picks? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala) and let me know what I got wrong.

Stock is rising for Newsome

October, 12, 2011
In this week's edition of All-State Stock Watch, we're looking at Connecticut football players who saw their potential value rise or fall over the past week. A player could have had a huge game, gotten a big-time scholarship offer, or broken a leg. Whatever the case, I chart all the data (in my head) and give you the biggest movers of the week.


UP — Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia RB
Ansonia broke into the Connecticut POWERADE state rankings this week after beating Holy Cross, 45-13, and Newsome is the man getting the job done for the Chargers. The 5-foot-7 sophomore has rushed for at least 196 yards in every game this season, and the last two weeks in particular have been spectacular. On Oct. 1, Newsome carried 22 times for 401 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Derby. This past weekend, Newsome continued his amazing play by running for 384 yards and five touchdowns against Holy Cross. Operating behind Ansonia's dominant offensive line, it looks like Newsome is set to be one of the state's most productive backs for years to come.

Have an insider stock tip? Don't keep it to yourself — hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).

Stock is rising for D'Amato, Newsome

September, 28, 2011
In this week's edition of All-State Stock Watch, we're looking at Connecticut football players who saw their potential value rise or fall over the past week. A player could have had a huge game, gotten a big-time scholarship offer, or broken a leg. Whatever the case, I chart all the data (in my head) and give you the biggest movers of the week.


UP — Pat D’Amato, Xavier QB
With junior quarterback Tim Boyle out with an injury, it was up to D’Amato, a senior, to come through against Foran last week. D’Amato usually splits snaps with Boyle, but on Friday he ran for three touchdowns (52, 49 and 25 yards) to lead the Falcons to a 48-0 victory. Xavier is currently ranked No. 2 in the Connecticut POWERADE rankings, and D’Amato’s performance has to give the team confidence going forward.

DOWN — Colin Moore, Avon RB
This DOWN grade is totally unfair to Moore; I just feel sorry for him after he carried 33 times for 286 yards in a losing effort last week. Moore scored three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough as Avon fell to Coventry/Windham Tech, 26-21. Talk about wasting a hard day’s work.

UP — Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia RB
Just a sophomore, Newsome has more room to move UP than just about any other player in the state. In a 36-6 win over Woodland last week, he carried 28 times for 217 yards and four touchdowns, giving him 10 TDs and more than 500 yards on the season. Look for Newsome to appear on this list many times over the next three years.

Week 2 fantasy: Start Newsome, Moore

September, 22, 2011
As part of our football coverage here, I offer up my hypothetical fantasy football picks every week. Note: This league is completely made up. If you are in a high school fantasy football league, please seek professional help.


RB — Arkeel Newsome, Ansonia
You know Ansonia loves to run the ball — Montrell Dobbs set a state record with 45 TDs last year — so grabbing a Chargers RB is always smart. In Week 1, Newsome ran for 319 yards and six touchdowns, and there’s no reason to think Woodland-Beacon Falls is going to slow him down tomorrow. After getting 24 carries last week, the sophomore should roll past the 20-carry mark again.
Projection: 28 carries, 248 yards, 4 TDs

QB — Colin Moore, Avon
Running quarterbacks can provide tremendous fantasy value (see Michael Vick), so you should definitely consider starting Moore full-time. In a Week 1 win, the junior complete just 4 of 9 passes for 45 yards and one touchdown, but he rushed 27 times, racking up 244 yards and a pair of scores. Even Vick would be envious of those numbers. Tomorrow’s opponent, Coventry-Windham, didn’t allow any points in Week 1, but I think Moore will still have a great game.
Projection: 5 of 12, 40 yards, 0 TDs; 25 carries, 190 yards, 3 TDs

WR — Thomas Milone, Masuk
It seems like we could rotate a different Masuk skill position player into these fantasy previews every week, but Milone is legit. The junior looks like he could be the breakout player of 2011 after grabbing five passes for 160 yards and a touchdown on opening night. And having the best QB in the state throwing to him doesn’t hurt. Even though New Fairfield gave up just six points in Week 1, Milone and the Masuk offense should prove to be too much.
Projection: 7 catches, 155 yards, 2 TDs


RB — Scott McLeod, Berlin
McLeod was extremely productive last week, totaling 109 total yards and a pair of touchdowns, but it may be difficult for him to repeat that performance tomorrow. Most of McLeod’s numbers came through the air, as he caught five passes for 92 yards and scored both of his TDs on receptions. He actually carried the ball just five times for 17 yards, and with Tom Undercuffler looking like the Redcoats’ workhorse (21 carries, 163 yards), McLeod is unlikely to see as much action as he did in Week 1.
Projection: 6 carries, 38 yards, 0 TDs; 2 catches, 20 yards, 0 TDs

* Projections based on 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR format; No PPR

Want to join my (nonexistent) fantasy football league? Hit me on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).