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Jeff Sentell/DawgNation
Noah Sewell is one of the biggest remaining targets for Georgia in the 2020 recruiting cycle.

Noah Sewell: Gabriel Sewell Sr. reviews his son’s official visit to UGA

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? The play sheet today calls for a discussion with Gabriel Sewell, Sr., about his son Noah and the family’s takeaways from their UGA official. Noah Sewell is a priority target for the 2020 class. 

Noah Sewell has the combination of the things every college coach looks for. The narrative this time won’t be another survey of a 5-star’s size and speed.

This conversation is about how unique it is to see a:

  • The platform elite talent can bring and a desire to do something real with it
  • Parents that know what college athletics are all about and yet opt to take a hands-off approach to their son’s recruiting 

Sewell rates as the nation’s No. 2 ILB prospect for 2020 on the 247Sports Composite ratings. He has an uncommon blend of size (266 pounds) and speed (4.13 time in the pro agility drill) for his position.

He impressed DawgNation readers earlier this week with his answer to this question: What is your favorite thing to do on a football field?

Sewell has bruising tackles. He leaps over defenders on his way to touchdowns at running back. He chases down RBs. The 6-foot-2 senior from Orem High in Utah is a lead battering ram on kickoffs.

He covers receivers and snags punts with one hand even while cradling a football with his other arm. Yet with all of that, his answer is:

“Seeing the second strings go in. “That’s my favorite part. They put a lot of effort and work into preparing me and us for game day. They work just like we do. I just want to see them being out on the field and then doing their thing. I love to see other people succeed, too.”– 5-star ILB Noah Sewell

Gabriel Sewell Sr. has coached the game for a long time, too. He’s sent three of his sons off to college football. They’ve heard an earful about more than blocking, tackling and taking great angles to the ball.

“We always remind our kids that they’ve been blessed with talent as well as a big stage in which to share it,” Gabriel Sewell Sr. said. “True greatness is not what you can accomplish, but what you can do to help others accomplish along the way.”

That’s through the value of service. Stewardship through football, if you will.

“It is good to see the values we try to instill at home, in some way, is hitting home,” Gabriel Sewell Sr., said.

DawgNation has shared Noah’s view on that official visit. It is time to hear what his father of the family trip to Athens.

Noah Sewell: The family take away from their time at UGA

“In going into it and how we kind of plan unofficials and officials out, we try to do all the I guess administrative stuff of an official visit on an unofficial visit,” Gabriel Sewell, Sr. said. “See the academic stuff. Spend time with the coaches in meetings and things like that. We’ve always tried to come back officially for a game.”

“We picked a big game because you want to feel a big game. My son is a lot about emotion. A lot of what he does on the field is based on how he feels. You weren’t going to get a true vibe of a big game at Georgia unless you come in and witness it first-hand.”

His father then added one intriguing element to his son’s eventual decision.

“All these schools he is considering are great academic institutions,” he said. “However, I believe his decision will be based on how he feels about the football side of things. He got an up-front close and personal view of that [Notre Dame] weekend. Not only what the game-day environment is like and the vibe in the locker room during game-day and how the team responds to a bit of adversity because that wasn’t an easy game. That was a heavyweight fight. From that perspective, I think that is what is most important.”

“I think he walked away Georgia having answered all the questions he went in looking for.”

Gabriel Sewell Sr. called it a “great” official visit.

“We’ve been through a couple of these,” he said. “This one was way ‘up there’ and even on the stage of the game, we visited for. That game was two powerhouse teams. That gameday atmosphere was like nothing else. Just to see the whole town of Athens come alive.”

“We didn’t get there until 3 or 4 o’clock and the town was already rocking. It looked like they were already at it for a while and long after that game was over. It was something to see that kind of support. 92,000-plus outside the stadium. Maybe another 92,000 outside the stadium. The magnitude of it all was really something. I still can’t quite understand it.”

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Noah Sewell and his family said they had all their questions answered through the combination of their unofficial and official visits to UGA. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Noah Sewell: What box did that official check for the family? 

For his parents, there was really only one thing on the to-do list for that official.

They live in Utah. Gabriel hoped to see the infrastructure on the visit which would convince him UGA would have no trouble caring for his son. He could be two time zones away. He needed to get that settled.

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Noah Sewell told DawgNation there was a part of his official visit where he couldn’t stop laughing. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“I’ve coached football for a lot of years,” Sewell Sr., said. “A lot of times coaches think I want to hear about the football side of things. But when we are on these recruiting trips, I am a parent.”

“Quite frankly, I don’t really care too much about the football fact. It will take care of itself. Like at the programs we are going to go see, they are known for their football. So I don’t have to be sold, so to speak, on that. All my wife and I really want to know at the end of the day is my son going to be cared for.”

“If he’s stranded somewhere on the road in the middle of the night will somebody be there to pick him up? For some miraculous reason if he’s hungry at 2 a.m. is there a way for him to get fed? We’re just looking for his overall well-being. Will he be held accountable? Will he continue to be taught good things? Will he know the right way to treat people? Just parent things. I thought Georgia did a pretty good job of getting that message across that he will be coached hard but his overall well-being as a young man is still more important to them.”

“I think if there was a message left with us by Georgia, then that would be it.”

The game was just gravy after that.

“I don’t think there’s anything in my vocabulary to accurately describe or convey the what and how and the magnitude of it all,” Gabriel Sewell Sr., said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. It was crazy. It was just crazy.”

Sewell Sr., who’s coached high school football for many years, asked the team about that.

“It was a madhouse outside,” he said. “It was rocking inside and I asked how can anyone hear the clap or the cadence offensively? I couldn’t even hear myself let alone try to have a conversation with my wife in there. Again, I don’t even know how to describe it.”

 

With that, he let his understanding of having sons on teams at Nevada, Utah and Oregon take over.

“I just sit back and try to be a Dad,” Gabriel Sewell, Sr. “A lot of these trips we go on and I was telling somebody about how the visit went. I said that I don’t think we would have allowed Noah to come or go on an official visit to this school or any other school if my wife and I hadn’t already given it the stamp of approval.”

He knows the game. The schemes. But that calm assurance of experience allows him and his wife to just blend into the background.

“I tell them ‘You don’t have to recruit us’ because ‘it is him’ and ‘it is just him’ because he is going to make the decision,” Sewell Sr., said. “We are going to allow him to do so. The fact that we are here visiting should speak to how we feel about the stuff we needed to feel good about as parents.”

“To tell you that, we’re fine with this place. We’re fine with [Georgia] and we haven’t found anything wrong.”

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Noah Sewell (center) and his family stayed pretty much plugged into the Notre Dame game last month. His father, Gabriel Sr., is at left. His mother, Arlene, is at his right. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Something you might not have read about Noah Sewell

Sewell also ranks as the nation’s No. 22 overall prospect (247Sports Composite ratings) for 2020. He grabbed his fifth star after wowing the recruiting services at the showcases over the spring and summer.

Those things are not designed for an ILB who will excel between the tackles on Saturdays. Sewell did anyway. It was clear in this reporter’s opinion that he was easily one of the five best defensive players who competed at the Opening finals in Texas back in July.

His range of aggressiveness, athleticism and physicality plus his Samoan roots create strong opinions about his future potential.

There was one DawgNation.com forum reader who conveyed a good sense of both scouting opinion and wit recently. They quipped that Sewell plays the way future NFL player Troy Polamalu might after he ate Troy Polamalu.

That’s funny. And also accurate. Check the film below. Sewell was out-of-shape here in his first game back after recovering from a foot injury that sidelined him for eight weeks. It just doesn’t really look like that.

Sewell had 15 tackles, including nine solo stops, in his first game back. He averaged 9.5 yards per carry.

“We knew he was rusty,” his father said. “He didn’t need to play the whole game but we knew he needed to get his conditioning in, that game time conditioning, so we left him in the whole game to help speed up his conditioning back to that as quickly as possible.”

Most might not know that this is the first year in which he has started to focus on his physical training. His father feels that once Noah adds the right food and drinks to his diet, he will trim up and play at 250 to 255 pounds.

Like most parents, he knows how expensive it is to raise a large family eating organic and non-processed food.

Sewell spent a lot of his off-field time during high school focusing on academics. Not weight training. That has afforded him the ability to graduate early and enroll at some fortunate school in January of 2020.

That nugget is not well-traveled across the interwebs and blogs, but there is a better one. His family didn’t move to Utah from American Samoa until 2012.

American Samoa is a U.S. territory in the South Pacific Ocean that is still so far away from the continental U.S. that it sits 2,500 approximate miles and a 5.5-hour flight from Hawaii. That makes it a 10-plus hour flight from California.

The Sewells moved to Utah when Noah was 10. The American weight rules meant he had to start playing tackle football on the offensive line. He hated that, especially after only having played flag football in Samoa up to that point.

“At first it was hard trying to fit in and everything,” Noah Sewell said. “Just trying to find who I am and fit in as a little kid. Coming from the islands you don’t know what to expect. It was kind of hard at first, but I just settled in and got into a groove.”

His father, Gabriel Sewell, Sr., describes his youngest son as the most “social” of his sons. He could be great one day in public relations for a Fortune 500 company. That’s his personality.

It helped his father was already coaching American football at a high school in Samoa at the time.

“I’ve always been around it,” Noah Sewell said of the game. “My dad coached high school football in American Samoa so I was a little assistant head coach just bossing the older kids around and doing my own thing. I’ve been around football since I was a little kid.”

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Noah Sewell said he really enjoyed himself on his UGA official visit. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

Noah Sewell: The next steps 

Team Sewell wants to keep things moving rapidly with his recruiting process.

“He’s going to be an early enrollee so the sooner we can put this thing to bed the better but I still want him to do his due diligence as far as what he has planned out already,” his father said.

There are at least two visits left. There will be one to Texas A&M. Oregon will follow. That’s where his older brother, Penei, is looking like an NFL first-round offensive tackle even though he still has at least 1.5 more seasons before he’s eligible to be drafted.

The UGA official was his first. Texas A&M will host the Sewells for the Alabama game weekend on Oct. 12. Oregon is also clearly going to happen, but that specific date has been up in the air.

As a final point, Gabriel Sr. said Noah’s mother, Arlene, will have a say in his decision.

“As far as him and his mother’s relationship,” Gabriel Sewell Sr. said. “That’s all that matters. I’m around but he is a momma’s boy. All my sons are momma’s boys pretty much. They need her approval. They really need to know she’s all good with whatever they are going to do. Or they won’t do it.”

He said this opportunity for their youngest son remains what they dreamed of when they moved to America in 2012. Their youngest son will also have the ability to make his own choice about where he wants to go to college and play ball.

“We are fortunate and blessed that these are opportunities that people can only dream about,” Gabriel Sewell Sr. said. “We are fortunate that our kids have this opportunity. It is the whole reason why we came to the United States in 2012. So they would have a chance at these opportunities. Now that they have presented themselves we are not going to say no.”

“Definitley we are not going to say no. If Noah feels in his heart that this is what’s best for him, then we will support [him] 110 percent.”

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