Written by Torey Fox | Ball State Sports Link
In Glenville, Ohio, football is more than just a game. It’s a neighborhood synonymous with football.
The tough community on the east side of Cleveland has produced the likes of Heisman quarterback Troy Smith and wide receiver Ted Ginn., Jr. among others. It has also produced numerous Ball State Cardinals, including defensive end Jonathon Newsome.
As the 2014 GoDaddy Bowl awaits Newsome and his teammates, the 6-foot-3, 236-lb. senior hasn’t forgotten about the neighborhood -- and the school – which made him the man he is today.
“Being at Glenville is a special place,” Newsome said. “You got the whole community behind you. We were always underdogs, but we had the best players too, so it’s just like year in and year out we had a chip on our shoulder. I just remember going out there and playing for everybody.”
Newsome, who was coached and mentored by legendary Ohio football coach Ted Ginn Sr., originally played football at Ohio State. He knows without Coach Ginn, the experience might have not been possible.
“If you listen to Ginn, you’re going to be on the right path,” Newsome said. “He definitely changed my life. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said I wanted to go play football at Ohio State and four years later, he made that happen for me. I thought that was amazing.”
Newsome, who primarily played special teams for the Buckeyes, transferred to Ball State after his sophomore season in 2011, but admits his time in Columbus wasn’t what is was supposed to be.
“I got distracted,” Newsome said. “I was just digging a hole and the hole just got too deep. So I made the move and I live with it. I needed to get Jonathon Newsome on track and that’s exactly what happened.”
On the field, Newsome has proven to not only be one of the best on the team, but also in the entire Mid-American Conference. He was named to the All Mid-American Conference First Team this season. Newsome, who was a three-time MAC West Division Defensive Player of the Week, started 11 games in 2013 and 21 in his two seasons at Ball State. He ranked sixth for the Cardinals with 57 total tackles, while leading the team with 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks on the season. He was named to the first team in 2013 after being honored on the All-MAC Second Team in 2012.
However, it’s off the field where Jonathon, better known as J-New, really showcases his talents.
“I always loved music,” Newsome said. “Nobody really knows this, but I used to go to the Cleveland School of Arts. I used to want to act, but it was football I chose. It wasn’t until I got this iPad mini, downloaded GarageBand and taught myself how to make beats.”
Newsome likes to produce all types of music, but prefers more of a slower, smooth jazz style dating back to his music days spent with his mother, Kimberly. He recognizes the importance of what he listens to and does not discount the power it has.
“Music is kind of like a getaway,” Newsome said. “When football gets stressful, whenever the pressure builds up, music takes me away from that, kind of just relaxes me and brings me back to reality.”
When Newsome graduates in December and then plays his final collegiate game in January, he knows his life’s journey -- from Glenville to Columbus to Muncie -- is something special.
“I think it would make for a great book one day,” Newsome said. “Going across that stage will mean I’ve really overcome a lot. To have that accomplishment, that’s something a lot of people in my family haven’t done except my mom. I’m probably going to cry. That’s the only time you’ll see me cry.”
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