Welcome to Your New Life Jamie Newman

May 10, 2020

ATHENS - Pro Football Focus tweeted out Friday that Jamie Newman was the best quarterback in the SEC heading into the 2020 season.

I’ve learned over the last 20 seasons to be wary of predictions on quarterbacks. Also, what do we know about Newman going into the 2020 season? A lot less than we would like to know.

Still, Mark Richt, who knows a thing or two about signal callers and spent 2019 watching Newman more closely than most while working for the ACC Network, raved about Newman, too.

PFF and Richt could certainly be correct. Frankly, PFF has a case to be made regarding their proclamation. Take Newman out of it - who is the best QB in the SEC? Auburn’s Bo Nix? Alabama’s Mac Jones? KJ Costello at State? Kellen Mond at A&M? What about the Gators’ Kyle Trask? Feleipe Franks is certainly physically gifted. He will get his shot to shine for Sam Pittman this fall (or winter) at Arkansas. John Rhys Plumlee at Ole Miss; Ryan Hilinski at Carolina… this isn’t the worst group of quarterbacks in the entire history of the SEC, but there are no headliners right now.

I remember when Treon Harris and Faton Bauta started a division-determining game in Jacksonville in 2015. That was ugly.

Speaking of which: Is Newman ready for Jacksonville? Nothing in the ACC prepares you for that. Is Newman ready for Tuscaloosa? Nothing in the ACC prepares you for that. You get the point.

Jamie Newman is “the clear-cut best quarterback in the SEC” PFF declared Friday. Again, I am not here to hate on that, because it certainly could be true. But Georgia doesn’t need the best quarterback in the SEC. It has had that before.

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What it needs is a quarterback who can get them to Atlanta, then to either New Orleans or Pasadena and then Miami Gardens. Newman, if he is the starter, will have to navigate all of the things that go along with being the quarterback at UGA. And that’s what is going to be so new.

That includes: the inability to go out in public without being bombarded with questions and attention; the constant scrutiny; the pressure to win each game - and look good doing so; the social media chatter; etc. And that’s just off the field.

Being a quarterback at a big-time SEC school is like no other thing in college sports. With the exception of once-in-generation college basketball players and starting quarterbacks at places like Ohio State and perhaps Oklahoma, few college players know what it is like to deal with the suffocating world that is being a starting quarterback in the SEC.

Being the best in the league is awesome and everything, but that will be used against Newman as soon as he falters in any way. Jake Fromm, as good as he was, saw how quick the UGA fanbase was to grumble about his play… and he is one of the most-popular players in recent UGA history.

Newman will get treated worse than Fromm for sure - unless he’s flawless. And he won’t be flawless. So that will be the hardest part - dealing with what it is to play in Silver Britches in front of tens of thousands in the stands and millions on TV with the most gifted college athletes in America ready to run you down, knock you down or take one of your mistakes to the house.

Welcome to your new life Jamie.

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