Mississippi State Football: Will Cam Newton Sink the Bulldogs' Ship?

Kevin McGradySenior Writer INovember 10, 2010

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 16:  Coach Dan Mullen of the Mississippi State Bulldogs directs play against the Florida Gators  October 16, 2010 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

When Cameron Newton committed to Auburn, his father Cecil explained a few things about the choice. He graciously commented that there was something inferior about Mississippi State; he explained that the choice was tough for him and his son.

In the end he eluded to the fact that there was simply a better supporting cast for his son to join at Auburn. There were several universities offering Cam Newton a scholarship and they were all respectable Universities.

With all offering scholarships the choice came down to more than a scholarship. There were issues like the proximity to the Newton home, the quality of players on the team he would play for and the skill of the coaching staff involved, among others.  

Cameron Newton had spent two years at Florida under the tutelage of Dan Mullen. After those two years scout reports on Camron Newton were negative on his throwing ability and very positive on his athleticism. When leaving Blinn College the scouting reports still listed his passing ability as suspect.

When the Newton’s visited Auburn they found a very solid, experienced offensive line. They found a team with developing talent at every position. Most importantly, they found a quarterback coach that had a great reputation at developing passing ability.

To start this season, the papers and internet were full of reports that said the way to stop Auburn and Cam Newton was to take away the run and force him to win with the pass. It was assumed that Cam Newton’s weakness was still his passing ability.

Last week Cam Newton threw for over 300 yards in one half of a football game. There are few college quarterbacks that could do that if facing a junior high school team. It would appear that Cecil Newton’s attention to the details a program could offer “other than a scholarship” has paid dividends.

Cameron Newton was a hot commodity coming out of junior college. He was paid a good bit of attention to. He also was not one of the more highly sought after and recruited athletes in the nation. There were five players that were more highly regarded in the recruiting circles in Auburn’s class alone.

Newton was not regarded as a program changer out of Blinn College. He was looked upon as a very talented young man with a lot of potential. In class of recruits that came to Auburn this year, Newton was just another face in the crowd.

Corey Lemonier, Michael Dyer, Trovon Reed, Shon Coleman and others were more highly regarded coming into Auburn than Camron Newton. He was the number one junior college recruit and some rated him as a five star recruit; some recruiting services only had him ranked as a four star recruit.

Auburn had 10 other four star recruits and three five star recruits in the 2010 class alone. While Cam Newton was certainly a talented athlete, he was just one of the guys in this class of Auburn recruits.

Hard work and the guidance of Gus Malzahn took Cam Newton from being a face in the crowd to the most outstanding player in college football. It was likely the benefits other than a simple scholarship that made this possible.

While there is little doubt that Camron Newton would have been the most highly regarded recruit in the 2010 class at Mississippi State, that could be exactly why he chose to go to Auburn. He already knew what Dan Mullen had to offer him. Mullen was his position coach at Florida for two years. He also knew he would be an immediate star on the Mississippi State team.

There was no way for him to know or even hope that he could develop into the improved player fans see on the field on Saturdays at Mississippi State. In fact, his chances to develop and proceed to the NFL would have certainly been in doubt.

It is quite obvious that losing their number one recruiting target was a bitter pill for Mississippi State fans and staff. It is also understandable and expected for them to think there was chicanery at work that caused this.

The truth is it was the other benefits that Auburn offered. They offered better position coaching, better surrounding talent, a higher profile, more national exposure and a closer proximity to his home. The Auburn staff made a position for Camron Newton due to his athleticism. They were not even recruiting a quarterback at the time.

They knew he could fill other positions if he did not work out at quarterback. Of course we all know that little risk in experimentation has paid off for both Newton and Auburn. Camron Newton is certainly going to have a future in the NFL and Auburn has watched as Newton has developed into one of the most exciting players ever to walk on the plains.

It is very likely that the animosity and vindictiveness of a few individuals connected to the Mississippi State athletic program will result in serious problems for the fledgling, building program. The NCAA was already looking into allegations that have proved to be hearsay and outright falsehoods.

While no ties have been remotely linked to Camron Newton or Auburn, both the Mississippi State and Florida athletic programs have been drawn into the investigation into this matter. What appears to have started as a vindictive speculation by a very emotional fan has now likely set the program he loves back several years.

The NCAA has no authority to require cooperation in their investigations. This was a degree of insulation up until this week. The FBI has now become involved and they can require cooperation in the process of their investigation. The truth will now come out in all of its ugly glory.

One very telling part of this investigation is that there are no reports of the FBI wanting to interview anyone at Auburn, Camron Newton, Cecil Newton or anyone that has had their character assassinated by these charges. The focus was directed right at the heart of the matter at Mississippi State.

Mississippi State booster John Bond has admitted through his legal representation that the FBI has asked for a face to face meeting. He was the one that originated the initial charges that have yet to be proved. He initially claimed to have had direct contact with Kenny Rogers according to multiple reports.

He later claimed several degrees of separation from Mr. Rogers. In other words, he had nothing but hearsay. It is also hearsay that has proved to be false in several details. The latest is that two more sources at Mississippi State have alleged tapes of both Cam Newton and his father telling Mississippi State that it would take more than a simple scholarship to get Cam Newton to Mississippi State.

Supposedly a tearful Newton explained that the money was simply too much in one of these tapes. Since this alleged contact took place by phone, how does any sane person know that there were any tears involved? The integrity of the Mississippi State athletic program has already taken a huge hit. With this last revelation of what must have been a video phone conversation, they are sure to lose what credibility they have left.

It would be wise for the institution that is Mississippi State to come out immediately and separate themselves from what appears to be a very delusional and imaginative group of disgruntled fans and boosters. It is time to cut the ties before the ship goes down with the crew.


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