Pitt’s strong year of recruiting in Virginia continued tonight with the commitment of talented 3-star running back Malik Newton from Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Virginia.
Newton (5-foot-11, 223 pounds) held a strong offer sheet that included schools such as Clemson, Louisville, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
After months of being recruited by those programs, Newton just felt like Chris Beatty and the Panthers’ staff wanted him the most and that the Pitt was the best fit for him.
“Aside from the football program, the education that I’d get at Pitt was important along with the Life Skills program that the university provides is outstanding and was definitely a factor,” Newton told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “Over the last few months, we were all over the place with different schools but in the end, I just felt closest with Coach Beatty, Coach Powell and Coach Narduzzi and felt that’s who I wanted to be with the most.”
Newton joins Myles Alston (Virginia Beach), Trevion Stevenson (Hampton) and Rodney Hammond (Norfolk) as the fourth player from Virginia to join Pitt’s Class of 2021 and Pitt can credit Chris Beatty for doing most of the leg work on these players.
“Coach Beatty is just awesome. He was calling, texting, getting me on FaceTime all the time,” said Newton. “He was always checking in to see how I was, even if it wasn’t about football. He wanted to know how I was doing, how my family was doing, how my school work was going and was consistent about it. After awhile, that just showed me and my family that he really wanted me as a player and a person. It wasn’t just words from him, his actions showed that he wanted me.”
Tuesday was also special for Newton because he’ll now be teammates with someone he’s been competing against on the football field and basketball court in Norfolk since childhood and that’s Rodney Hammond, who’ll he be backfield mates with at Pitt.
https://t.co/95ptAcX3wD view that ‼️‼️
— Malik Newton (@maliknewton2002) October 27, 2019
“Rodney, he and I are like brothers from a different mother,” said Newton. “We grew up playing sports together and against each other. I love that I’ll be playing with him and I can’t wait to share the rock with him. We’re going to do damage and the defenses are going to have to figure out who they want to try and stop.
“In high school now when we go up against each other, we always made a bet to see who would have the better game between the two of us. That motivates us and makes us better. Even when we played basketball against each other, we were able to push and motivate one another. It’s just cool now that we’ll be able to do it together at the next level.”
Newton becomes Pitt’s 13th commitment for the Class of 2021 and they leapt Virginia for the 22nd-ranked class according to 247 Sports. The last player that committed to Pitt while also holding an offer from Clemson was four-star running back Mychale Salahuddin in 2018.