PORTSMOUTH, Va. - It was a difficult and sometimes agonizing decision, but it's one that Kevin Newsome is glad is over.
Newsome, the former Western Branch star quarterback, chose Penn State over Virginia Tech as his college choice on Tuesday night.
Newsome, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, made the decision at a local restaurant surrounded by media, family, friends and well-wishers.
In the end he said it came down to getting an opportunity to play early.
"Virginia Tech is a great school, and I love them and appreciate them," he said. "What helped a lot with Penn State was that I would get a little more playing time a little bit earlier. Every quarterback wants to come in and be able to challenge for the spot. I want to be able to learn from Daryll Clark, and by the time I'm a sophomore be ready to take control of the Penn State offense."
Clark will be a senior next season, while Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor will be junior. What made it tough for Newsome was Virginia Tech has been recruiting him long and hard for the last two years.
"It was a very difficult decision, but Penn State came out on top," said Newsome, who is one of the nation's top dual-threat quarterbacks.
What also helped was the relationship he built with Clark over the weekend while visiting Penn State .
"Clark is a great guy," Newsome said. "He's a very smart quarterback and an African-American quarterback, so we have things in common. He told me a lot about the game, about Penn State and everything I needed to know because he was in the same situation when he came to visit and Mike Robinson was there. I really enjoyed him."
Newsome has a chance for immediate playing time thanks to the departure of backup Pat Devlin, who announced last week he's transferring.
Newsome originally committed to Michigan in April but changed his mind in August.
He also decided to leave Western Branch after his junior season to play his senior season at Hargrave Military. After two seasons, Newsome threw for 2,156 yards, rushed for 798 and piled up 39 total touchdowns with Western Branch.
But after four months at Hargrave, he decided to return to South Hampton Roads to graduate from Churchland High. He plans to graduate next month and enroll at Penn State. Also during that time, Newsome will play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio .
Newsome chose Penn State over Virginia Tech, Boston College and Ohio State. He was scheduled to go to Columbus, Ohio, this week but canceled his trip.
"It's a bit exhausting, but it's so important to us because you only get to make one choice," said Newsome's father, Kevin Sr. "We feel comfortable where Kevin is going to be."
Before announcing his decision, the younger Newsome had a difficult phone call Tuesday morning when he called Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer to inform him about his college decision.
"I told Frank Beamer that I was going to be a Nittany Lion," Newsome said. "He sounded disappointed, but at the same time he said, 'You know what Kevin, you're a good guy and I wish you luck and success wherever you go.' I really appreciated that, not just as a coach but as a man."
Outside of family and the Penn State coaching staff, no one was happier for Newsome than brothers Chris and Craig Zeigler.
Both are graduates of Penn State and huge Nittany Lion fans. They came wearing Penn State jerseys and even had a Penn State hat for Newsome to wear for a photo opportunity and had him sign a football.
"I saw in the news where he was going to make a selection so we came on out to see," said Craig Zeigler, who grew up in Duncannon, which is about 75 miles from State College. "What I do know about him is that he's the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the nation. We need him bad. I can't wait to see him play."