Until the college football season began I’d never heard of Cameron Newton, this one. Perhaps I’m not connected to the “insiders” line. You know, every sport has an “insider,” like Chris Mortenson, “NFL Insider.” (I knew him when he was just plain Chris Mortenson, laboring at the Atlanta Journal.)
The other Cameron Newton was a defensive back signed by the Falcons out of Furman University. (At Furman, you have to be able to identify Shakespeare and work long division. The Furman Newton could do all that, but he never made it as a Falcon.)
Now we come to the latest Cameron Newton, about the hottest name in college football right now—nothing relating to Shakespeare. He first came to attention burning up the joint at Auburn, as a running, passing horse of a quarterback. You don’t often see quarterbacks as tall as he is, and as big as he is, and as fast as he is. He’d played no more than half the season before the Heisman Award electorate had him inked in on their ballots. Ye gods, he was impressive! I don’t think I’d ever seen such a one-man offense before Auburn doesn’t play defense very well, but with Newton at the offensive wheel, who needed offense.? You don’t have to out-tackle ’em, just out-score ’em.
Then all hell broke loose. Those of us who didn’t know this Cam Newton before, suddenly knew TOO MUCH about him. Auburn wasn’t the first college team he’d been connected with, in fact or fiction. And before this witch hunt—I don’t use that term advisedly— was half done, we found out that he had left tracks at Florida, then on to a junior college, then in gossip (at least) to Mississippi State, on his way to Auburn. His fame has now reached the point that the Heisman could be his if he just shows up. Or could have been.
Note: Frankly, I consider the Heisman Award probably the most over-blown trophy in athletics. Only two kinds of players can win it: Quarterbacks or running backs. It’s a fraud in every way. Once I was a state chairman, but I gave that up 17 years ago, though I’d been an ardent participant. (I think the reason I quit was that sports writers did the voting, mostly, but the winning announcement was made on television—before newspapers were able to publish it.)
But for now, the least important matter in Cam Newton’s life is the Heisman. It’s his eligibility. It’s who paid how much to get him on campus. Is it true that he was offered on a platter ( for $180,000) to Mississippi State, and State turned him down? Is it really true that his father negotiated his “contract”?
What is the truth about this kid? For that matter, is he a sophomore or a junior, or does he even go to class? It’s the most sloven story I’ve run into in college football since—well, Reggie Bush. Go get ’em, Mike Slive! I doubt this is one case that even Sherlock Holmes or J. Edgar Hoover could have divined, much less a clean-living conference commissioner.