Cam Newton wins the Heisman

Cam Newton was rightfully awarded the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. The Auburn quarterback won in a landslide victory ahead of second placed Andrew Luck (QB, Stanford).

LaMichael James (RB, Oregon) and Kellen Moore (QB, Boise State) were also finalists.

With 2589 passing yards, 1409 rushing yards and 49 total touchdowns this season – there was never any doubt who deserved the award. Make no mistake – Auburn are in the BCS Championship because of their quarterback.

Before the deadline on January 15th, Newton will declare for the 2011 NFL Draft with a cluster of awards under his arm. He won the Maxwell and O’Brien awards earlier this week and now adds the Heisman.

I’ve discussed Newton’s pro-prospects often on this blog. I’ve included him amongst the top-ten picks in my mock drafts for the majority of the current college football season.

Initial suspicions that this was merely another run-first, athletic QB were cast aside with further research. This is a guy who has the arm, can make NFL throws with accuracy and precision and doesn’t go into the league needing major repair work to his mechanics.

There are improvements that need to be made – he needs to do a better job setting his feet and throwing less off the back foot. Like most rookies he’ll need to learn a playbook much deeper than he’s used to in college. Newton will need to work in a system completely different to that at Auburn where he’s required to make one or two reads before running.

That’s no different to any other rookie.

Newton restricts his mistakes, is capable of making big plays and managing situations. The pressure he’s been under this year will not have been matched with any other prospect in college football. He’s been able to put that to the back of his mind – win – and perform.

Coming from behind to win against Alabama was a defining moment in his development. So far, it might be the highlight in a year where Newton has dominated one of the strongest conferences in the game.

I understand why some high profile pundits are hesitant to put Newton as high as I have in their mocks. This is a guy with little playing experience (one year in the JUCO ranks, one year with Auburn). He’s also got some questions that need answering in team meetings during the draft process – not least his departure from Florida and recent issues involving his father and the ‘pay-to-play’ story.

As long as they can be answered then the sky’s the limit for Cam Newton. Today he won the Heisman – next April he could be back in New York to celebrate being a high pick in the draft.


  1. akki

    Actually it seemed like when the Chiefs played the Seahawks, Cassel played the whole game with
    Read #1 = Bowe
    Read #2 = RB (Jones or Charles) 5 yards downfield
    Read #3 = run
    and we still couldn’t figure out how to stop it. I lost some confidence in Gus Bradley’s ability to adjust that day.

    I wonder how pro-ready you can actually get in college. Clausen and Tate were supposed to be unusually ready for the NFL because they played in Charlie Weis’ pro system. Now we’re finding that even with pro-style formations, Weis greatly simplified things for them, such that they didn’t really have as much of a head start as advertised. I don’t think that’s an issue with Luck given that one of his advantages is that he runs a wealth of different formations and plays. But perhaps Newton’s handicap isn’t as unusual as it seems.

    On the other hand, if Newton becomes a Pro Bowler with 1 year starting experence in college, you’ll never hear about the Lewin Career Forecast again. Mark Sanchez already has it on the reeling.

  2. matt

    Umm, the Seahawks need to lose out this year and DO WHAT THEY NEED TO DO to get a QB. Hasselbeck is done. Just brutal. And the best part is, we still don’t have a proper game evaluation of Whitehurst.

    Where do you think we end up picking in the draft Rob?

    • Rob

      I think we’ll finish 6-10, so probably 6th or 7th overall.

      • matt

        Making it more likely to be able to trade up to get a QB if need be, without sacrificing a ton of picks.

        Do you think the front office would even consider Cam Newton? I am very much intrigued by him.

        • Rob

          It’s hard to judge. Pete Carroll never had a QB like Newton at USC. He isn’t a bad scheme fit, but for whatever reason it doesn’t seem like a logical fit. I suspect Newton will go before Seattle’s on the board and a move up, even only a few spots, is a hard sell. The Seahawks just don’t have that much ammunition to make that move.

          I anticipate they’ll do something at QB in the off season. That could be in R1 or R2 this year. Picking in the top 10 gives them a shot at guys like AJ Green which would be difficult to avoid.

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