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All-American Bowl/Courtesy photo
Noah Sewell chose Oregon over UGA in his recruiting process. But he said that wasn't an easy decision.

Noah Sewell: How Oregon wrestled the 5-star ILB away from UGA

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. The play sheet today details the recruitment of 5-star ILB Noah Sewell. He chose Oregon but detailed with DawgNation just how tight that recruiting race was at one point. 

Noah Sewell has had quite a few rites of passage for an All-American football player of late.

The nation’s No. 2 ILB prospect (per the 247Sports Composite ratings) was honored with his All-American Bowl jersey on Monday.

That occasion was just three days after his final high school game. Sewell capped his career with a state title in his last varsity game. His Tigers started the year out 2-3 in games the 5-star ILB either didn’t play in or log more than two quarters in while recovering from a preseason foot injury.

Orem (Orem, UT) then won eight of their last nine games, capping the year with a state title after a 21-7 victory. It proved to be a night of closure on another level for Sewell, too.

The 2020 mid-year enrollee announced he was committed to Oregon after his last game.

The Sewell family made sure that a hasty decision was not made. Their outlook on the recruiting process does not appear to lend itself to dramatic flips or late reversals.

The fact he will play with his older brother, Penei, for at least one season seems to make that pledge about as tight as Sewell’s tackles.

Oregon won the battle, but Georgia led for Sewell at one point. That’s how close the Bulldogs made things in this recruiting process. The young man, who grew very popular with DawgNation as a potential addition to the team, had nothing but classy things to say about how UGA recruited him.

“There is a real brotherhood over there,” Sewell said. “That starts with coach [Glenn] Schumann. I’m just real thankful for them for giving me the opportunity to go out there and thankful for coach [Dan] Lanning and thankful for coach Kirby Smart. He’s a very good man and I am just grateful for all of them.”

This recruiting race had a twist or two.

“It was really close,” he said. “My mind was going back and forth and then it just came down to how close I was with [Oregon head] coach [Mario] Cristobal and the whole coaching staff and the players.”

Sewell said Georgia even took the lead after his official visit for the Notre Dame game on Sept. 21.

“That place was just very special to me,” Sewell said about that visit. “It will always have a spot in my heart. It just came down to just me being at Oregon.”

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Noah Sewell’s high school campus in Utah is surrounded by nature’s beauty. He chose Oregon over Georgia last Friday night in what he described as a back-and-forth affair. (All-American Bowl/Courtesy photo)

Noah Sewell: Georgia did make his process a battle 

His final decision could be viewed as a football game. Given his brother’s worth to the Oregon program, there were clearly established ties to Oregon.

The Ducks basically led the field by two touchdowns at the half.  At least. But the Bulldogs did make it close.

“It was like a back-and-forth kind of thing,” Sewell said. “I was just grateful for the process and everything that happened.”

How did Oregon wrestle him away from UGA?

“It was just how comfortable I felt with coach [Mario] Cristobal and the coaching staff,” he said. “Just the players. I had already made real relationships with the players over there. It feels like home to me.”

His last official visit to Oregon was the tipping point. That came on Oct. 26.

“Really a lot after that official visit,” he said of when things changed. “It was after thinking and spending time with my brother. Just talked to him about everything with that.”

The irony here is there were no magic words from brother to brother. At least that was not his older brother’s intent.

“No, not really,” Noah Sewell said. “He didn’t really try to sway me to go to Oregon. He just told me that no matter what he is still going to love me and do what’s best for the family. Just put on for the name.”

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Noah Sewell rates as the nation’s No. 2 ILB prospect for the 2020 cycle on the 247Sports Composite. (All-American Bowl/Courtesy photo)

Noah Sewell: The All-American Bowl and what lies ahead

Sewell should be a force for the West team in the All-American Bowl. That annual game will be broadcast live on NBC on Jan. 4.

“It is just a great blessing and an honor to be a part of this game,” he said. “A lot of great names like Adrian Peterson, Haloti Ngata and Tua [Tagovailoa] and I’m just grateful to be a part of it.”

His brother also played in this game when it was known as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Penei Sewell, a sophomore OT, was named as one of three finalists for The Outland Trophy this week.

Penei Sewell has a very bright NFL first-round future. But his little brother holds the edge in rankings appreciation coming out of high school. (Penei Sewell was the nation’s No. 2 guard and No. 57 overall recruit on the 247Sports Composite in 2018.)

Noah Sewell even stands as the Compsosite’s highest-rated player from Utah since Ngata. That means a great deal to him. Especially for a young man who moved with his family to the United States from American Samoa in 2012.

“It is just crazy, to be honest,” Sewell said. “I never knew where I’d be the last four years. Just look where I am at right now. Just very grateful and blessed to be where I am at right now.”

He wants folks to take stock of his ability. To see the way he moves and flies to the ball. Sewell hopes it will shoot down future theories that he is destined to play defensive end or defensive tackle.

Inside linebackers don’t go north of 235 pounds when they are in high school. Much less 260. It is nigh-impossible to hold that weight and move the way Sewell does. There aren’t many players that project to play at ILB with that bulk.

But he’s a rare prospect. His athletic testing places him among elite receivers in agility and right with the elite tight ends in foot speed, too.

The last few days have been chock-full of accomplishments for this young man. Yet with that, he has his eyes focused on a clear goal for his first year in college.

“Just to make everyone see that I am a true linebacker,” he said. “Just to change everybody’s mind about me that I am a true linebacker.”

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Newly-minted Oregon commitment Noah Sewell will play for the West team at the All-American Bowl live on NBC on Jan. 4. (All-American Bowl/Courtesy photo)
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