Football DNA has presented interesting family trees over the years. From the Mannings to the Hasselbacks, the Gronkowskis, and coaching lineage in the Ryan family dating back to the 1960s, the nucleic makeup that makes us “us” presents a dynamic consistency across the landscapes of football today. While we often highlight the sons of former players, most recently in the forms of Patrick Surtain II (son of Patrick Surtain Sr.) and Jaycee Horn (son of Joe Horn), brotherhood, similar to the Mannings, could soon introduce a new family tree of NFL talent.
Meet Noah Sewell. The younger brother of Detroit Lions tackle Penei Sewell, Noah earns his praise on the defensive side of the football. A true freshman last fall at Oregon, Sewell was as dynamic a defender as you could find in the Pac-12. While Penei sat out the season due to prepare for the NFL Draft, Noah used his campaign to dominate opposing offenses, representing one of just two FBS freshmen and the only first-year linebacker in a Power 5 conference to lead his team in tackles (45). He was also the first true freshman in Oregon’s program history to lead the team in tackles since Troy Dye in 2016 and was the sixth-highest graded linebacker in the Pac-12 by Pro Football Focus.
Success on the gridiron has become a constant in the Sewell family.
The youngest of four brothers, Noah is the last in a long line of top-tier athletes within the Sewell family. Following his career in Eugene, Penei served as the No. 7 overall selection of the Lions in April. The oldest of the Sewell bunch, Gabriel, graduated from Nevada in 2019 after five seasons, leaving Nephi, a safety-linebacker hybrid in his junior season at Utah alongside Noah as the final two of the Sewell house entrenched within college football. While many comparisons have been made over the years to the obvious likeness and similarity in their style of football to their kinship, Penei and Noah have dominated conversations, as the second-year Duck looks to follow in his big brother's footsteps of an NFL pathway.
In just nine games thus far at Oregon, Noah Sewell has quickly stepped out of his brother’s spotlight. Eligible for the 2023 Draft, and a former 5-star recruit via Orem High School in Utah, Sewell has rapidly progressed into one of college football’s most feared second-level defenders. Following a dominant performance in Week 1 against Fresno State in which Sewell, a menacing downhill defender packed within a 6-foot-3, 251-pound frame, recorded five tackles, a TFL, and a forced fumble in the biggest test of his young collegiate career against the No. 3 ranked Buckeyes of Ohio State.
Sewell was everywhere for the Ducks defense, totaling seven total tackles, a career-high through nine games.
“He is way ahead of his age...his aptitude and intellect for football is very strong,” Oregon inside linebackers coach Ken Wilson said.
Like Penei, who is now tasked with protecting Jared Goff’s blindside in Detroit, Noah’s approach to the game goes beyond the spotlight of gameday. His acute detail to the intricacies of his position; where his eyes should be, how he trains his body, and repetition in the film room has Noah on the bumper of his older brother as the next with Sewell lineage to find himself competing on Sundays.
“The intensity with which he practices sets that bar where everybody has to go play at his level,” defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter said.
With family expectations and a driving hunger for success that stems far beyond the hashes, Noah Sewell is next up.