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Plant City Observer Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 1 month ago

Cody Newman: From the gridiron to the ‘Gram

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Strawberry Crest’s top defensive back is also a rising star on Instagram.
by: Justin Kline Sports/Associate Editor

If you follow Strawberry Crest football this year, you’ll see strong safety Cody Newman making his mark on defense. If you follow Newman on Instagram this year, you and thousands of others will see all of the senior’s fishing trips.

The “avid fisherman” label fits Newman perfectly. He’s as dedicated to wrangling fish as he is honing his craft on the football field and spends much of his free time working on his social media presence. Most teens his age have part-time jobs at restaurants or retail stores; Newman considers his work on the water and online with the @newman.fishing Instagram account a part-time job.

Newman said he started seriously exploring the idea of Instagram fame during his freshman year of high school.

“I just grew up fishing in my back yard in ponds. I’d catch fish and take crappy photos and post them every day,” Newman said. “I figured out how to gain followers and by my freshman year, I had around 6,000.”

Though it’s a high number for most people, the senior shrugs it off. He said he stayed dedicated to fishing as much as he could, when he could, and eventually found gigs fishing at events while wearing sponsors’ apparel or using their goods. Newman fishes after school nearly every day and posts regularly to keep his social media impressions up.

He’s also made friends in the online fishing community who have helped raise his profile. Their reposting of his photos and videos, he said, boosted his follower count by giving the content the chance to go viral with hundreds of thousands of views. He now has more than 20,200 followers and 15 sponsors who watch him fish all around the state, in fresh water or salt water.

He’s also competed on the school’s fishing team. He partnered with Abigale DeVane, who earned a bass fishing scholarship to Savannah College of Art and Design, and is now considering SCAD himself. Whether he ends up at SCAD or Auburn — his top two choices — or another school, Newman’s goal is to keep on angling for both fish and followers. With this much success already, he’s going to enjoy the ride as long as he can.

“I just go with the flow,” Newman said. “I don’t let anything worry me because that means I’d just get stressed out. I just do what I can, when I can do it.”

Crest fans need not worry about fishing getting in the way of football though. Head coach Ron Hawn speaks highly of Newman and considers the senior one of the most important parts in the entire Chargers machine. Hawn said he has the instincts, tenacity and work ethic to succeed and will be counted on as a leader of the defensive unit.

Justin Kline is the Sports/Associate Editor at the Plant City Observer. He has been covering all things sports-related in the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World since 2013.

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