CLAYTON — After nearly every Big 10 college expressed interest in Northmont defensive end Gabe Newburg, the junior standout eventually made a committment to sign with Michigan.
He said it had always been his dream to play for the Wolverines. His father Scott, who coaches the Thunderbolts’ wrestling team, grew up in Michigan. The entire Newburg clan is diehard Michigan fans as is evident by the team banners displayed in their yard during football season and by the den painted in maize and blue with Michigan logos adorning the walls.
“Growing up we were huge Michigan fans,” Gabe said. “They didn’t contact me until I went to Michigan State for a visit. They texted us that morning and said they had just watched our game film and wanted me to come there on the way back from Michigan State. They said they had good news for me.”
When Newburg arrived at Michigan, he walked into Schembechler Hall, turned to the right and
Coach Jim Harbaugh was walking out of practice. He came over to Newburg, gave him a huge hug and invited him up to his office.
“When we got in there and sat down he said, ‘Look at the clock. As of 6:42 you have a full-ride offer to the University of Michigan and that is committable right now,’” Gabe said.
Newburg will continue to play defensive end. He might play weak side defensive end, which serves as more of a pass rusher, or if he gains more weight could also play strong side defensive end to serve as a run stopper.
Newburg, who is one of Northmont’ top wrestlers, took the season off this year to work on weight lifting and to put on a few pounds. The effort paid off. He now weighs 235 pounds.
“In two months I put on 30 pounds. I started eating six meals a day and would get up at 3 a.m. every day, drink a protein shake and go back to bed,” he said.
Academically Newburg plans to study criminal justice with the goal of becoming an FBI agent like his older brother, Casey, who currently resides in Cleveland.
“This was Gabe’s dream offer,” Scott said. “During the season once in a while he would ask me why Michigan hadn’t contacted him because all the other Big 10 schools did. He also got an offer from Iowa the same day Michigan made its offer and an offer from Virginia the next day.”
Scott was born in East Lansing and lived there until his family moved to Northmont area while he was attending junior high. Scott’s Ball State University football teammate Brady Hoke took over as Michigan head coach from 2011 to 2014.
“Even if Ohio State had come up with an offer Gabe wouldn’t have gone there anyway. He wanted to go to Michigan,” Scott said. “You’ve got a coach up there that had enough interest in Gabe to make him an offer right away.”
Gabe noted that Harbaugh told him that after watching seven plays of his game film from Northmont that he knew he was going to make him an offer. He also related how while visiting OSU, Coach Urban Meyer took him into his office and talked to him for about 30 minutes.
“He kept turning to his assistant coaches and saying, ‘I like this kid. We gotta get this kid.’ At the time I thought that was pretty cool, but the night before I told my dad that I was going to commit to Michigan if they made me an offer no matter what happened,” Gabe added.
Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email Rnunnari@aimmediamidwest.com or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind