Ring of Honor Feature: Terence Newman

By Jeremy Holaday
Sports Information Student Assistant

A Salina, Kan., native, Terence Newman started his domination on the football field by playing under the tutelage of former Salina Central football coach Marvin Diener.  However, his first love was basketball and, because of this love, he didn’t go out for football until his sophomore year. 

 

“Terence was a great kid, very personable, and a great athlete,” said Diener.  “After talking to him and realizing he wanted to hang out with his friends more he went back out for football his junior year.”

 

Playing defensive back, wide receiver, and returning kicks, Newman was a “do-it-all” type player for the Mustangs earning his way to a state title and an All-Class 5A selection during his playing career in high school. A track star as well, he had a choice whether to concentrate on football or track as he was making his plans for the future.

 

“Terence was a football player that ran track, not a track runner that played football,” Diener said.

 

So with the advice of some close mentors and K-State’s ability to produce great defensive backs, Newman decided to continue his football career at Kansas State.  Head coach Bill Snyder knew exactly what he was getting when he recruited Newman,

 

“The easiest thing to say is that you saw a guy that can run extremely fast,” said Snyder. “More importantly, he had that willingness coming out of high school to do things the appropriate way.”

 

Newman possessed the talent and qualities of a football player that the coaching staff at Kansas State was looking for, which kick started a great career as a Wildcat.

 

Redshirting his freshman year, Newman took the time to learn.

 

“He knew it was significant for him to work as hard as he could to embrace and to learn as much as he could,” Snyder said.  “He was a great learner and he trusted the system.”

 

Learning from other players and getting experience with the system allowed Newman to jump ahead of the learning curve for football players. He found playing time in all 11 games as a redshirt freshman and gathered in his first interception in a 66-0 win over Missouri and a 73-yard kickoff return against Baylor.

 

The Big 12 caught a good look of what could come from Newman during his sophomore campaign as a Wildcat. That season he played in all 14 games, including one start against Louisiana Tech. A glimpse of his talent came against rival Oklahoma when he returned a blocked punt for a 16-yard score.

 

After becoming the 2001 Big 12 Outdoor 100-meter dash champion and setting the school record time of 10.22, news of Newman was just getting started for that year. The 2001 football season brought a type of football player to K-State that would be a force to stop for any opponent. He was no doubt on the minds of all opposing coaches that he lined up against; whether it be lining up at cornerback, where he started all 11 games, rushing the outside to block a kick, or setting up under a kickoff to gain field position for the offense. Performances against teams like Oklahoma where he picked off two passes and defended seven more to go with six solo tackles, set him in the spotlight for the nation to see his talents on the football field. A junior season that ended at the Insight.com Bowl, also came with several awards like, a second team All-Big 12 selection by the league coaches and a spot as a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award.

 

Newman’s senior campaign was arguably the best performance a football player could have in one season. Speed was one aspect of his game that had no doubt helped him achieve the success so far as a Wildcat and the 2002 season was no different.  The coaching staff had him return more kicks than any other previous season and, to utilize his speed to the maximum, they lined him up on offense as well.

 

“Speed was obviously important with every position that he was involved with and we wanted to utilize the speed that young people have,” Snyder said.

 

Contributing to the offensive side of the ball was something that Newman was familiar with in high school, but not on the college playing field. Although after a 51-yard pass reception for a touchdown against Western Kentucky early in the season, fans saw that being on the offensive side of the ball was just as natural for him as covering up the opponent’s best receiver.

 

For someone who has never seen Newman play, the performance in his final game as a Wildcat displays why he was an All-American and a first round draft pick. The 2002 Holiday Bowl against Arizona State featured all of his talents in 60 minutes of football that he had been working on for four years. Showing his defensive ability with a team-leading 10 tackles and finishing with 149 all-purpose yards that proved to be just what the Wildcats needed for a 34-27 win. He was rewarded for his outstanding season with the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back to go with consensus All-America and first team All-Big 12 honors.

Awards, recognitions, and a great playing career are reasons why he’s getting inducted to the Ring of Honor, but what was it that made it possible? Starting in high school, he never settled. Weighing not even 100 pounds as a freshman, Newman didn’t give up because he wasn’t big enough.

 

“Between his sophomore and junior year, Terence was a permanent symbol in our weight room, because he wanted it more than anyone,” Diener said.

 

Never wanting to settle was the story of his college career as well and Snyder found that to be the most important aspect when describing Newman.

 

“The humility that Terence has allows him to understand that there is always more to learn and improve,” Snyder.  “The most significant thing one can do is not put himself in a closet where you feel you’ve accomplished it all.”

 

Already an All-American, the fifth pick in the 2003 NFL Draft and pro-bowler, one might think that accomplishing it all is in the near future.

The fourth and final member of the 2008 Ring of Honor class will be featured on Friday here at k-statesports.com.