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Cam Newton: Is the Auburn QB the Next Tim Tebow?

John ListonContributor INovember 9, 2010

Cam Newton: Is the Auburn QB the Next Tim Tebow?

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    When Tim Tebow's college football career was finally complete, the Florida quarterback had accumulated a resume unparalleled in the history of the game. A Heisman Trophy, two BCS National Championships and numerous entries in the college football record books.

    Tebow's unique skill set and unmatched level of dominance had many college football analysts questioning whether Tebow was the greatest college football player of all time. Tebow's coach Urban Meyer and even some reporters were noticeably shaken when Tebow's career in Florida finally came to an end.

    Little did the college football world know that one year later, the heir apparent to Tebow's crown would already be on the college football scene. Cam Newton, the beastly Auburn quarterback, has much of America ready to forget Tebow, and even has some people asking who is a better quarterback?

Passing

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    Tebow's passing attack was often the aspect quoted most often by his detractors as a flaw in his game. His delivery was both ugly and unconventional, and he was not a traditional passing quarterback. Tebow was never known to engineer long quick drives with his arm as much of the Florida offense focused around their ability to run the ball.

    With that said, Tebow never had a completion percentage below 64 percent. He never had a QB rating below 164. Also, he never threw more than six interceptions in a game. Although Tebow was not a Peyton Manning style drop back passer, there is no arguing with his numbers and his success.

    Tebow was efficient and took care of the ball on passing downs, and in his best season even threw for 32 touchdowns.

    Cam Newton is often regarded to be the same style of player as Tebow. He can throw the ball efficiently and effectively, but he often relies on his legs and superior athletic ability to make big plays down the stretch.

    With that said, Newton's throwing motion and arm strength both have appeared to be superior to Tebow's this season. Newton has a very strong arm and many scouts and analysts often claim that he has the ability to be a passing quarterback, he just doesn't need to.

    He is currently completing his passes at a rate of 67 percent with a passer rating of 182. He also has managed 19 passing touchdowns on a surprisingly low number of passing attempts.

    Comparison:

    The claim could be made that as far as the passing game goes, Newton has already surpassed Tebow in pure ability and throwing mechanics. If Newton just continues his current production levels and keeps throwing the football, he could put up a season eerily similar to Tebow's Heisman campaign.

Rushing

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    Most college football fans probably never thought they would see another quarterback who could run the football like Tim Tebow. While Tebow's speed was not mind-blowing, his elusiveness and raw power made him one of college football's most lethal ground threats. Tebow ran hard and was willing to take on a linebacker to gain that extra yard.

    His hard-nosed running style led to some impressive results. Tebow never averaged under 3.8 yards per carry for an entire season. In his Heisman winning season he rushed for an astounding 23 touchdowns. Equally as important, Tebow never fumbled on a running play during his time in a Gator uniform.

    If any quarterback could make people forget about Tebow's prowess in the ground game, it is Cam Newton. Newton is averaging 6.5 yards per carry and has already accumulated 1,146 yards, which is more than 200 yards higher than any season total Tebow produced.

    Newton also has a physical running style and is willing to take on defenders head on, but he also possesses speed levels that make him a threat to turn any run into a big play. One of the most telling statistics in the comparison is that in Tebow's career his season long was below 30 yards three times and was once 55 yards. This season Newton's season long is an astounding 71 yard run.

    Comparison:

    Tebow produced incredible statistics over the course of his career, but Newton looks poised to eclipse even Tebow's Heisman season with his stats this year. His speed allows him to pick up greater chunks of yards and like Tebow he has run over numerous defenders this season. Newton seems to be everything Tebow was on the ground as he was through the air.

Intangibles

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    If Cam Newton wants to be the next Tim Tebow what that really entails is becoming a legendary face of college football. Tebow was almost flawless in a public relations sense and gave his critics very little to work with in the form of criticism.

    Off the field, Tebow was devoutly religious and very public about his beliefs in and adherence to a high sense of morality.

    On the field, Tebow was hailed by his players, coaches and opponents as one of the game's great field generals. Tebow was never out of any football game, mainly because of his ability to rally his team around him during times of peril.

    By all accounts, Cam Newton arrived at Auburn a humble player who immediately impacted the entire program with his work ethic and modesty. As he proved himself on the field, he became more vocal in the locker room and is now unquestionably the Tigers' leader.

    Newton has performed well so far in his role as a leader and has been a positive influence on the entire team, especially during close game this season.

    Off the field, Newton's life is much less public than Tebow's was but if he wants to be accepted into the pantheon of greatness where Tebow resides, he will have to avoid implication in recruiting scandals like the one he was recently embroiled in.

    Comparison:

    Tebow set the gold standard for any player in the intangibles department. He was a charismatic leader who was likely always the most moral player of anybody on the field. While Newton has proven to be a leader and a great football player, being the next Tim Tebow includes living up to the entire package.

    Newton needs to keep himself out of any trouble and continue to lead with integrity for the rest of his college career, if he even hopes to approach Tebow's standing in the college football world.

Winning

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    Tim Tebow's greatest legacy as a college football quarterback was simply his ability to win football games. Regardless of the opponent and the pieces he has around him, Tebow felt as if he could win any football game that he played in.

    In Tebow's four years in the Florida program, the Gators won two National Championships. In Florida's worst season, Tebow won the Heisman with his record-breaking season. It's no coincidence that the year Florida was facing its biggest talent drought was Tebow's best season.

    In Tebow's senior season, the Gators were unable to repeat as champions, but they did take home the Sugar Bowl in convincing fashion and could very possibly have been the best team in the nation not named Alabama.

    Since arriving at Auburn, Cam Newton has literally done nothing but win football games. So far he has beaten every team thrown his way and has the Tigers on pace to play for this season's National Championship.

    Like Tebow, Newton has stepped up in big games this season. For instance he accumulated 217 yards rushing against a staunch LSU defense in what was to this point Auburn's greatest test.

    Comparison:

    While Newton has shown that he has the potential to lead his team to victory like Tebow, he has yet to accomplish anything substantial. Newton has a lot of catching up to do, but a National Championship and a Heisman Trophy victory at the end of the season would do wonders for helping him catch up.

Overall

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    Overall Tim Tebow is still the king of college football, for now. Cam Newton has a legitimate shot to be the next Tim Tebow and he is well on his way. Physically, Newton's speed makes him the more intimidating player while mechanically his ability to throw the ball is also superior to Tebow's

    Newton has some catching up to do in the win column and since he only has two seasons under center, he cannot afford to waste any time. Newton needs to win at least one National Championship and another BCS Bowl game to match Tebow's legacy.

    Statistically, Newton needs to maintain his current rates of production for the rest of his career to threaten Tebow. He also will likely need to take home a Heisman trophy, and winning two certainly would not hurt.

    However, being the next Tim Tebow is not just measured by on field performance so likely the most important thing for Newton to do is to keep his nose clean off the field and remain a leader on it.

    While this sounds like a lofty set of goals for Newton, chances are that he is the more talented of the two quarterbacks. If he can just stay focused and healthy there is no reason for Newton to not win at least one title and one Heisman.

    In fact there's no reason for Cam Newton not to be the next Tim Tebow.

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