ATHENS — Jamie Newman said back in September that he was opting out of the 2020 season at Georgia because of Covid concerns, and on Thursday he revealed that a family member contacted it.
Jamie Newman says in all 32 interviews he’s done w teams, he’s been asked about why he opted out. Said he had a family member affected by COVID. pic.twitter.com/Ego7rzY1Op
— Joe Person (@josephperson) January 28, 2021
“No regrets of not playing this season,” Newman said, per a WFTV-9 AP report. “Still love DawgNation regardless of all the stuff that I get via Instagram. Still got love to that family. Still got love for the fans.”
Anthony Timmons, Newman’s high school coach, had indicated in a DawgNation earlier this week it had been a family decision.
“It was tremendously tough on him,” said Timmons, who coached Newman in his hometown of Graham, N.C. “I think the whole Covid situation, and it was a family decision, between him and his grandma and dad.”
Roller-coaster for Newman
It has been an important week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., for Newman. Representatives from all 32 NFL teams have been on hand to observe the weigh-in and practices leading up to the game at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
With the NFL combine canceled and clubs expected to have limited attendance at the various programs’ Pro Day workouts, appearing at the Senior Bowl has become more important than ever.
Newman, an athletic and strong-armed 6-foot-, 235-pound, has been the “wild-card” of the week after opting out of the season at Georgia.
Newman said on Thursday that in all 32 interviews he has done with teams, he has been asked about opting out.
NFL teams will have their own opinions on where they might draft Newman after his roller-coaster week in practice.
Newman threw two interceptions in Wednesday’s practice, including one that was picked off by his former Georgia teammate, Mark Webb.
Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy had correctly predicted in his exclusive interview with DawgNation last week that would be the case.
Am I crazy for having Jamie Newman as my rookie QB6 above Kyle Trask in my ‘way too early’ rookie rankings? pic.twitter.com/pGeMnnI3RT
— Matt FF Dynasty 🏈 (@MattFFDynasty) January 28, 2021
Jamie Newman is painfully slow getting off his first read
— Steven Haglund (@StevenIHaglund) January 28, 2021
At Thursday’s @seniorbowl practice, @rgrant1525 of @UCF_Football was in playmaking mode. He reads Jamie Newman’s intent, reacts and makes the end-zone interception during the red-zone period. Grant’s anticipation and ball skills were impressive this week. pic.twitter.com/upYPLpW2t2
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) January 28, 2021
“As everyone in Georgia knows, he opted out, so there’s going to be a rust factor,” Nagy said. “It’s how quickly can Jamie shake off the rust and acclimate himself to a pro-style offense. He’s really the wild card of the whole week.”
Barking Dawg fans
Bulldogs’ fans have been hostile toward Newman on social media, to the extent Nagy said the all-star game had no choice but to put him in his Wake Forest colors.
‘The vitriol among DawgNation on Twitter has been unbelievable,” Nagy said. “What did this kid do to you guys? “
UGA team captain Monty Rice and punter Jake Camarda both expressed support for Newman, aware of the hard work he put in from January through August before determining that an opt-out would be better for his professional future.
Rice made it clear to Georgia fans that Newman should be considered “family.”
Dawg family! https://t.co/vabMTIsO0a
— Monty Rice (@RiceMonty) January 25, 2021
Fact is, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and offensive coordinator Todd Monken made it clear Newman had not won the job even after eight months of practice at the time he decided to leave.
Smart said at the time he was under the assumption JT Daniels would be cleared from his knee injury to play in the opening game.
Daniels and Newman were splitting first-team reps at the start of fall camp.
Newman went to Kirby Smart’s office on the Tuesday after Scrimmage One to tell the head coach he planned to leave.
Smart and Newman issued releases indicating the parting was amicable:
“While we will miss him being part of our program, I fully support Jamie’s decision and we will continue to regard him as a Georgia Bulldog. Certainly, we wish him nothing but the best in his quest for an NFL career and he knows he will always have a home at UGA.” — Kirby Smart
“With much prayer and discussion with my family, I would like to announce that due to the uncertainties of this year amid a global pandemic I will officially opt-out of this football season to prepare for the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft,” Newman said. “I would like to thank Coach Smart for extending the opportunity for me to be a part of the University of Georgia football program.” — Jamie Newman
Kind words for Georgia
Newman said earlier this week he still watched all the Bulldogs games on his laptop, with the Wake Forest games sometimes playing simultaneously on this TV set.
Newman was able to reunite with some of his former Georgia and Wake Forest teammates at the Senior Bowl, including Rice, Malik Herring, Tre’ McKitty, Ben Cleveland, DJ Daniel and Mark Webb.
But it was a business trip, to be sure, with Newman’s NFL draft stock on the line.
The #Patriots passing game is a problem.
Is Jamie Newman the solution? 🤔pic.twitter.com/bHs17PGyOM
— PFF NE Patriots (@PFF_Patriots) January 28, 2021
Much to prove
ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay said share his take on Newman on an ESPN.com podcast leading up to the Senior Bowl.
“He throws a great deep ball, and I really like the trajectory and timing of his passes on 9-routes, which he saw a lot of at Wake Forest before transferring,” McShay said. “He has poise and toughness in the pocket, and the ball jumps out of his hand. But there are three things I still need to see from my ninth-ranked QB:
• Newman needs to process faster. Can he improve there throughout the week as he gets comfortable with the new offense and new receivers?
• This will be a good chance to show he can make the anticipation throws, especially on intermediate passes and going over the middle.
• Can Newman throw accurately on the move? Wake Forest didn’t roll him out much, with a high percentage of his passes coming from inside the pocket. Let’s get him throwing on the move to both sides this week.
Newman picked Georgia over several other schools that wanted him out of the transfer portal, largely because he believed he could answer those questions in Todd Monken’s offense.
But with his family concerns for Covid, and no guaranteed starting spot at Georgia, he made the decision to leave and now looks to the future saying he holds no ill-will toward either of the schools he attended.
Newman revealed he had a good meeting with New England, in particular, saying, “I really like their organization.”
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) January 28, 2021
Wake Forest/Georgia QB Jamie Newman broke into a big smile when asked if there was any rust from opting out of the season. He acknowledged some was there and that all 32 teams had asked him why he opted out. Newman shared that someone in his family dealt with COVID.
— Alaina Getzenberg (@agetzenberg) January 28, 2021
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 27, 2021
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