Saturdays in Athens
George Somerville. Saturday 30th May 2020
Welcome to our weekly round up of life in the Southeastern Conference.
This week its all about the Quarterback. Some old and some new. But before we jump straight to the prima donna’s of the game some breaking news out of Florida.
Miami running back Lorenzo Lingard has just announced that he has received eligibility to play at Florida in the 2020 season.
Lingard, a former 5 star recruit, transferred out of Miami following two seasons which were derailed by injury. Lingard was the number two running back in his recruitment class so undoubtedly brings quality to Florida who need to replace Lamical Perrine.
But let’s get back to the QB’s. Here are this weeks headlines….
Newton Back At Auburn
There is a Newton back at Auburn. Words that every Tiger fan wants to hear – but its not Cam back at Jordan Hare. It’s Cam’s younger brother Caylin who has joined as a grad transfer from Howard University, an FCS school in Washington D.C.
Caylin’s transfer as a graduate draws comparisons to Cam who also transferred to Auburn from Florida to play his final season in College for the Tigers.
Newton, also a quarterback, is eligible to play immediately and has two years eligibility remaining. However that will not be quite as easy as it sounds given that Bo Nix seemed to have the QB1 slot sewn up last year. In fact Nix played in all Auburn’s games, eventually being named SEC Freshman in the process.
But Newton also comes with a pedigree. He was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rookie of the year and Offensive Player of the Year in his Sophomore year.
In that Freshman year, Newton led Howard to a shock win over UNLV. This was the biggest upset in college history by point spread.
And lest we not forget Cam’s one year with the Tigers, was a special one.
In 2010 Cam Newton led the Tigers to an undefeated season. The Tigers ended the season beating Oregon in the BCS title game. During that season Cam scored 51 touchdowns in the year (30 passing, 20 rushing and one receiving). Newton’s final season in College is rightfully remembered as one of the greatest seasons in College ball. It was rounded off with a Heisman Trophy.
Caylin Newton will be hoping to have the same impact as big bro.
Jacob, Jake, Justin, Jamie and now.... JT?
Talking about quarterbacks, it seems that to be a QB at Georgia your Christian name has to start with a J.
But that was the only thing which made sense about the news this week that ex USC QB JT Daniels has agreed to join the Bulldogs in Georgia.
Former 4 star recruit Daniels announced earlier that he would leave the Trojans. However, despite much speculation, few predicted he would end up in Athens.
Daniels left USC having only used one year of eligibility due to experiencing a serious knee injury in 2019 where he only played in one game.
Daniels will need to gain an eligibility waiver to be able to play in 2020, so is not a guaranteed starter this year.
Which begs the question, how will Daniels fare in the Georgia QB room?
Jamie Newman* arrived in Athens to a fanfare having transferred from Wake Forest. Not only is he considered the starting QB1, he is also a good early bet for the Heisman Trophy this year.
And with Stetson Bennett, Carson Beck and the excellent news that D’Wan Mathis will rejoin following his emergency brain surgery, there is no shortage of talent and competition in that room.
Interesting times in Athens.
Yes, I’m sorry. We are still on the QB trail.
Rumours rarely subsided at Auburn last year of ongoing power struggles between Head Coach Gus Malzahn and the school’s boosters. It is no secret that the boosters were dismayed at the size of Malzahn’s new contract and there were concerted efforts to get him out.
One rumour which just would not go away was the ongoing battle of who should be starting QB. Whether these rumours had legs, Bo Nix ended up as the starting QB and Guz Malzahn was retained as Head Coach.
One thing that most agreed on was the treatment of QB2, Joey Gatewood. So, unsurprisingly Gatewood announced back in February that he was moving to the Kentucky Wildcats.
With the excellent Lynn Bowden (yes, I know he’s not a quarterback) declaring for the NFL, Amani Gilmore transferring and Terry Wilson still recovering from his 2019 season ending injury – the news of Gatewood coming to Lexington was sweet music to Kentucky fans.
This excitement was tempered somewhat with recent news that the NCAA decided that changes to immediate eligibility of first time transfers would only be introduced via a legislative change to its rules rather than an amendment of existing rules (meaning this won’t happen anytime soon).
So while not the only player impacted, Gatewood is left wondering if he will be eligible to play this year for Kentucky under a hardship waiver. If not he will need to sit this season out. Which, given the lack of any cover at QB, would be a hard one for anyone in Lexington to swallow.
Should Gatewood not be granted permission to play in 2020 he would still have two years of eligibility remaining in 2021.
But given the treatment Gatewood received at the end of his Auburn career, its hard to rule against hardship. Remember though; we are taking about the NCAA here. Don’t hold your breath.
The return of shaw
While Connor Shaw did not have a noticeable NFL career, he did have a record breaking college career with the Gamecocks.
Never having lost a game at Bryce-Williams stadium and having won a record breaking 27 games at South Carolina, Shaw has retained legendary status at USC.
It was good then to see Shaw return to Columbia as the School’s new Director of Football Student-Athlete Development.
His first role has been as the touch point between players and School as the pandemic has taken hold. He has been organising position group meetings and virtual group sessions to get the players mixing and socialising albeit from a distance.
Given Shaw has been there and done it, he seems a useful addition to the staff and should be both a great influence to new recruits and also a perfect example of what can be achieved with the Gamecocks.
Good luck Connor Shaw.
A GLASWEGIAN LIVING IN LONDON, GEORGE IS A COLLEGE FOOTBALL FAN WHO FOLLOWS THE ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE. HE PROVIDES CFB CONTENT FOR THE TOUCHDOWN AND IS ONE THIRD OF THE COLLEGE CHAPS PODCAST.