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You will have to forgive UK freshman defensive lineman Langston Newton if he has forgotten to respond to his own name.
That’s because Langston, younger brother of UK senior quarterback Morgan Newton, rarely is called by his first name by his Wildcat teammates.
“Everybody is trying to learn names right now and the quickest thing they can go to is ‘Little Newton’ or ‘Morgan’s little brother’ or ‘Lil Newton,’” Langston said. “So right now, it’s funny to hear all the variations of ‘Little Newton’ you get.”
If Langston has his way, it won’t be long before UK fans start thinking of him independent of his relation to Morgan, who has started 17 games in three seasons for UK and is competing for the starting quarterback job this fall.
Rivals.com rated the Carmel, Ind., native as a three-star defensive end as a senior in high school. In addition to UK, Langston received scholarship offers from Illinois, Indiana and Purdue among others.
“Obviously me and Morgan are at two different positions — one is a quarterback and I’m a defensive lineman,” he said. “Coming into it, I’m just going to try to work as hard as I can, try to be the best defensive lineman I can be.”
For his part, Morgan is enjoying assuming the big brother role for Langston and J. J. Newton, who is a freshman manager for the team, once again.
“I was an older brother for 15 years before I got to school,” he said. “Now I can be an older brother again. When you come to college, they’re doing their own thing in high school. It’s nice.”
It was that relationship that made it difficult for Langston to hear the criticism directed at Morgan last season after he had already verbally committed to play for UK.
“Obviously, he’s my older brother, and I look up to him,” Langston said. “He’s Batman, and my dad is Superman. It’s hard to see everybody talk so down on him.”
“Freshmen moved in yesterday, so I’m one of the old guys, who moved in today, that had to help a freshman move his stuff in the dorm,” Morgan said.
As Langston prepares for his first camp at UK, Morgan has also helped him know what to expect from the adjustment to college football.
“He’s given me so much good advice,” Langston said. “He helped me move. I think he’s bought meals for me. He’s been a great big brother.”
Part of Langston’s quest to develop his own reputation will be earning playing time on a defensive line that is among the deepest positions on the team.
UK returns four starters on the line in senior end Collins Ukwu, junior tackle Donte Rumph, junior tackle Mister Cobble and senior end Taylor Wyndham. Langston is joined by Thomas Chapman and Patrick Graffree as freshmen linemen looking to earn early playing time.
“Me, Thomas Chapman and (Patrick) Graffree, we’re definitely going to try to compete for spots,” Langston said. “It’s great to be behind some of these upperclassmen. Just being around them and being able to kind of absorb some of the knowledge has been a great thing for us.”
Langston could give UK another pass-rushing threat on the line, but he was not ready to say he had a skill the veteran linemen do not have.
“We’re so well-rounded right now,” he said. “Obviously I’m just going to try to bring myself I guess. I’m not sure what we can really improve, but we’re going to use camp as an opportunity to get better.”
While he works to move out of his older brother’s shadow, Langston knows Morgan will be there to help him along the way. He also knows there might be some teasing to go along with that help as well.
“There’s no hazing at all,” he said. “Just every once and awhile he kind of makes a joke in one or two ways — especially about my hair cut right now. He is still my older brother.”