ATHENS — What if someone told you Georgia’s newest quarterback produced more offense per game than the quarterback for the No. 4 offense in the country last season?
It’s true, Jamie Newman passed and rushed for more yards per game last season at Wake Forest than Justin Fields did at Ohio State (full statistical profile below).
Indeed, Kirby Smart said as soon as he found out Jamie Newman was in the transfer portal, Georgia “started communication immediately.”
Newman has made a strong impression in the offseason workouts according to multiple sources inside Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, validating Smart’s decision to bring in the graduate transfer.
Newman vs. Fields
DawgNation talked to players at the NFL combine who competed against Newman, and they vouched for his talents.
“He’s a good player, very athletic, very strong in the pocket,” Clemson safety and team captain Tanner Muse told DawgNation at the NFL combine. “I think he’ll have a lot of success at UGA.
“I think he will bring a different dynamic, like Justin Fields was going to do, I think he’ll be able to do it.”
If Newman does indeed step into Jake Fromm’s shoes as the Georgia football starting quarterback, he’ll assume the comparisons to Fields.
Fields, of course, chose to transfer from Georgia following his freshman season rather than compete with Fromm for the starting job in 2019.
To be fair, Newman and Fields were in very different situations and offenses last season.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Newman was asked to do more in the Demon Deacons’ offense than the 6-3, 228-pound Fields was with the Buckeyes, who also featured 2,000-yard rusher J.K. Dobbins.
Ohio State featured more talent and more depth, and Fields proved more efficient and consistent than Newman over the course of the season.
Pass Attack Grounded
Newman’s performance fell off significantly the last four games of last season, after Wake Forest had lost two of its top three receivers to injuries.
The Demon Deacons attempted 30 passes or more in seven of their first nine games of last season. Wake Forest didn’t have a 30-attempt game after losing its leading receiver, Sage Surratt, to injury in Game 9.
Surratt was the only Power 5 conference 1,000-yard WR at the time of his injury. With senior WR Scotty Washington also out, the Demon Deacons lost four of their final five games.
Newman — who missed a midseason game himself with a shoulder injury —proved himself capable with a full compliment of receivers the first seven games of the season.
In his first game back from his injury against a 4-3 North Carolina State team last season, Newman was on fire.
Newman was 25-of-38 passing for 287 yards and 3 touchdowns and also carried 11 times for 30 yards and 2 more touchdowns in a 44-10 win.
North Carolina State defensive lineman James Smith-Williams told DawgNation at the NFL combine he still remembers Newman’s 2018 performance against the Wolfpack, too.
“I think Jamie is a big, physical guy who moves pretty well and has a good, live arm,” Smith-Williams said. “I know that he came to play against us two years ago … he carried those guys to victory.”
Newman was 22-for-33 passing for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 27-23 upset win over a 6-2 North Carolina State team in Raleigh, also carrying 13 times for 33 yards.
“He’s definitely an impressive leader, and I think he’s a great quarterback,” Smith-Williams said. “I think he’s going to start there. He has the talent to play, by all means.”
Perhaps no opponent was more familiar with Newman than Utah State linebacker David Woodward.
It was Woodward who made an astounding 24 tackles — some on Newman — during Wake Forest’s stirring 38-35 season-opening win.
“He’s a dual-threat quarterback, they ran a lot of read option, so he could run the ball and you had to be aware of that,” Woodward said, recalling the scouting report on Newman. “When he gets a chance and receivers are open, he puts it on the spot.”
Newman was 34-of-47 passing for 401 yards with 3 touchdowns in the win over the Aggies, also carrying the ball 21 times for 36 yards and a touchdown.
“It seemed like he was a running back at times, he’s a big quarterback,” Woodward said. “He was a solid passer.
“I think he’ll be successful. He was good at Wake Forest, and he’ll have better receivers and talent around him.”
Georgia begins spring drills on March 17, at which point Newman will compete with returning quarterbacks D’Wan Mathis and Stetson Bennett, along with incoming freshman Carson Beck.
Smart hired former NFL offensive coordinator and “Air Raid” guru Todd Monken to modify the Bulldogs’ offense after pocket passer Jake Fromm decided to turn pro.
Newman, who ranked second only to LSU’s Joe Burrow on deep balls and tight-window throws per advanced metrics, has already been listed among the Heisman Trophy favorites.
“Joe Burrow (was) far and away the highest-graded quarterback throwing to a tight window, but Newman is second — and third isn’t anywhere near him,” Pro Fooftball Focus penned. “He also limited his uncatchable pass rate to the fourth lowest.
Here’s a look at how Newman’s statistics at Wake Forest last season compared to what Fields did at Ohio State in his first season with the Buckeyes after transferring from Georgia:
Jamie Newman vs. Justin Fields 2019
(with national rankings)
4th Ohio State, 529.9 yards per game
15th Wake Forest, 464.0 yards per game
Passing yards per game
38th Jamie Newman, 239.0 per game
44th Justin Fields, 233.8 per game
11th Justin Fields, .672
59th Jamie Newman, .609
Completions per game
49th Jamie Newman, 18.33
61st Justin Fields, 17.00
3rd Justin Fields, 181.40
40th Jamie Newman, 145.30
Yards per pass completion
20th Justin Fields, 13.75
31st Jamie Newman, 13.04
3rd Justin Fields, 41
T-25th Jamie Newman, 26
Rushing attempts per game
Jamie Newman, 15.00
Justin Fields, 9.78
Rushing yardage per game
Jamie Newman, 47.83 yards
Justin Fields, 34.57 yards
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