It’s been a pretty busy week for Georgia football, as that tends to be the case when your presumed starting quarterback opts out just over three weeks before the start of the 2020 season.
Jamie Newman made his announcement to opt-out on Wednesday, just days after the Bulldogs held their first scrimmage. Newman stated that he will begin to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
His time at Georgia came to an end before he even played in his first game.
Expectations for Georgia were high in part because of Newman. Georgia was ranked No. 4 in both the Coaches and AP Poll to start the season. Prior to the Newman news, Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde the Bulldogs pegged as a playoff team, slotting them into the No. 4 slot.
“There are a lot of shoes to fill elsewhere on offense, but the recruiting has been ridiculous in recent years so it will just be a matter of plugging in new five-stars to replace the departed five-stars,” Forde wrote. “Defense will be the calling card; that unit could be even better than last year’s which led the nation in fewest points allowed per game.”
But now without Newman, some who were excited to see the new-look Georgia offense with Newman at the controls are a little less so.
ESPN’s David Pollack had stated he was going to pick Georgia to win the national title this year. Now with Newman out, that’s no longer the case.
With Jamie Newman as Georgia’s QB I was going to pick them to win the Natty. Now? Back to Bama/Clemson
— David Pollack (@davidpollack47) September 2, 2020
Georgia will get a crack at playing Alabama on Oct. 17. It just won’t be Newman at the helm. JT Daniels, who transferred to Georgia in May, is the favorite to now start Georgia’s first game against Arkansas on Sept. 26.
Shortly after the news dropped, many began speculating as to why Newman made the decision that he did. SEC Network’s Jordan Rodgers floated a popular theory; Newman was doing this in an effort to help his draft stock, as there was the seemingly growing chance Newman got beat out for the starting job by Daniels.
Feels like Jamie Newman is preserving his draft stock. Elite D, most talent on O he’s ever had, elite WR,+ all athletes I’ve talked to feel good about COVID protection/testing/etc. If you’re gonna be the starter, don’t understand opting out. “IF”🤔 I think JT was winning that job
— Jordan Rodgers (@JRodgers11) September 2, 2020
As for where Newman’s draft stock sits as of right now, The Atheltic’s Dane Brugler stated that the big reason why there was so much hype surrounding Newman was because of how he’d get to look in Georgia’s offense. Without that opportunity, he’s not a first-round draft pick like some pegged.
Newman might be genuinely concerned about the virus. Or he might be getting bad advice – none of us can say with any certainty.
All I know is it's a shame he won't have this season to boost his draft grade. Most NFL teams view him as a developmental day 3 prospect right now. https://t.co/t9xu1ts9FQ
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 2, 2020
The SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic made a similar point to Brguler in that if Newman was going to validate the hype, he need more reps against quality defenses. While he put up solid numbers in his time at Wake Forest, he didn’t always shine against Power 5 competition.
Jamie Newman also needed those games reps. Could have greatly benefited from more film.
Did not have a 300 yard passing game vs a power 5 opponent & had 25 TD’s, 14 INT’s vs P5 opponents for his career.
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 3, 2020
Cubelic also add what he thought was the big sticking point between Newman and the Bulldogs.
Biggest issue for Georgia & Jamie Newman in my opinion is simple…
Reps at a position that has multiple levels of importance at a time that reps are comparatively limited.
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 3, 2020
Georgia played multiple quarterbacks during its first scrimmage with the first-team offense, including Daniels and redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis.
And Georgia head coach made it clear that neither Newman or anyone had emerged as a clear cut starter for Georgia.
“I don’t think anyone has separated if that’s what you’re asking,” Smart said last Saturday following the scrimmage. “As far as the time table for that, I don’t have a time table for that. It’s got to happen.”
The Bulldogs will have their second scrimmage this Saturday where they will get another chance to see how the likes of Daniels and Mathis, along with Carson Beck and Stetson Bennett, look as possible starting quarterback options.
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