Newell lettered four years at Auburn University in football and baseball, one year in basketball, track and soccer. During his four years, the football team won 24, lost 4, tied 2 and scored 639 points to opponents' 111. He was captain of the 1913 undefeated Southern Champions gaining 1,707 yards, forty-four percent of the team's total. Through his career he gained 5,800 yards rushing, 350 passing and 1,200 in punt returns. Selected All-Southern, he is listed on Auburn's All-Time Team.
Newell served in the U.S. Army in France during World War I. He was severely wounded when he shielded a group of fellow soldiers from a hand grenade blast. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his selfless act.
Newell was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.