December 13, 2009

Sooners Put Newton in a State of Shock

In the past few years it's hard to imagine a player who has vaulted into the consciousness of Oklahoma recruiting fans more swiftly than Brenham (Texas) Blinn community college five-star quarterback Cameron Newton.

A few weeks ago it was thought the Sooners had no involvement with Newton but after word started to leak out that might not be the case Sooner coaches Josh Heupel, Jay Norvell and Kevin Wilson showed up at last Sunday's junior college national championship game between Newton's Blinn squad and Fort Scott (Kan.) C.C.

A week later he was leaving Norman after an official visit for banquet weekend and says that in spite of the Sooners only recently offering him he came away with no regrets.

"It was excellent, coach Heupel, and the Oklahoma coaching staff did a great job of hosting me, I have no complaints and no regrets of coming here," Newton said. "They made my commitment process even much more hard to decide.

"There are just a lot of good coaches on the coaching staff and a lot of excellent players around you at Oklahoma."

Newton is a player that came in not sure of what kind of connections he would have to Oklahoma but he quickly remembered an old friendship with one Sooner receiver and a feeling of six degrees of separation with another.

"Ryan Broyles was my host. Actually this was not our first encounter, we played together in the (offense-defense) all-star game a few years ago out of high school," he said. "And Cameron Kenney, we have a lot of connections; he is from Atlanta and we know a lot of the same people. It was a good experience here, not just from a football aspect but meeting players around the town and you just make new friends while you are here.

"Honestly I didn't know what to expect coming to Oklahoma but right now I'm speechless and in awe of what I saw in the last 48 hours."

One of the things he did know about what was the reality that Oklahoma has a player, in Landry Jones, who started all but two games this season and has at times looked the part of a future standout.

It was an issue that Newton had mentioned might be a sticking point for himself as he only has two years of college football available to him.

"I want to be clear, I don't want anything given to me. I just want to know that if I come in and compete that I will be the put-in starter with me competing day in and day out as I earn the respect of my coaches and teammates," he said. "So on fourth and one they can have that trust in me that I can make the play. I see a lot of opportunities at Oklahoma for me to be a key component for a national championship run.

"Coach Heupel put the points on that we do have a sophomore quarterback and a freshman quarterback and that I was going to have to come here in and compete. But he said there is no need for you to be scared; the best guy is going to play whether it's me or Landry."

Another almost obligatory question for Newton was his impressions on being-potentially-the first running quarterback at Oklahoma in the Bob Stoops era.

"In this day and time the days are gone with the drop back quarterback who just sit back and throw the ball to the receivers. It's slim to none and in the NCAA they are looking for that mobile quarterback," he said. "Coach will call a play and sometimes the reads won't go as planned.

"As a quarterback I'm not looking to run and there is a stereotype out there about a dual-threat quarterback that just wants to run. I look to pass a lot and when the time comes to run I think I'm blessed with the capability to run and get yards that way."

While for most schools the banquet weekend for their team is used as a big recruiting tool Newton admits it wasn't something he was really looking forward to.

However after watching just about every player and coach get 'roasted' in some form or another he feels much more differently.

"You really get a feel for the team, what type of team you are working for, when you see the banquet," he said. "I thought 'oh man another boring banquet' but it was a fun experience seeing a lot of highlight tapes, seeing statistics they put up this year.

"You also can see the bloopers, from the players, the coaches. It was kind of a roast, they were talking about coaches and whatever and seeing the seniors go out with that type of feeling, that just fills your heart."

It's these very human relationships that Newton admits he didn't pay enough mind to in the first go around of his recruiting visits but regardless he admits that it's the lone time in his athletic career that being a bit selfish is almost necessary.

"Of course this isn't my first rodeo in this recruiting thing. I'm not looking for the glitz and the glamour, I want to go somewhere I can get my attributes toned up so I can be as successful as I can be and make as much money as I can in the NFL. The team that I can pick is the best part for me I can make the right choice for myself," he explained.

"Right now you get a feel for (who you like) but right now my favorite would be seeing me in a uniform and what the team can do for me. The recruiting process is the only time in your career when you are playing for yourself. When you sign for a team it's what is best for the team, you have to be the most positive you can come through in the situation."

As a mid-term graduate Newton is days away from the end of his recruiting process but admits to not being in a hurried timetable, and says he may or may not take an official visit next weekend before the end of the contact period.

"The plan right now is either this weekend I'm going to try and make it to North Carolina or Auburn, that's still a coin toss in the air," he said. "It's not set in stone that I'm taking a trip at all. I may just take that time to catch up with my family. I haven't been around my family like I wanted to in the last year but I want to go on another trip, right now I'm leaning towards going on the trip but we'll see.

"I'm going to take my days and feel each team out that gave me the chance or offered me a scholarship."

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