ATHENS — Georgia football could be in for a championship season if Jamie Newman can win over his Georgia teammates like he impressed his teammates at Wake Forest.
Three of the Demon Deacon players at the NFL combine in Indianapolis took time to talk about Newman with DawgNation, sharing their take on the Bulldogs new quarterback.
“You’re going to get the hardest worker in the whole entire football program,” said Wake Forest offensive tackle and team captain Justin Herron, who matched UGA bench press leader Isaiah Wilson with 27 repetitions of 225.
“He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met. He’s going to do a really good job, and Georgia should be really excited.”
Newman is listed at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds and is a true dual-threat quarterback who can run as well as pass the football.
Wake Forrest cornerback Essang Bassey saw that first hand competing with Newman in the Demon Deacons’ practices, and then observed Newman on the sideline and in the locker room.
“You definitely have to start with his leadership ability on the field. He’s a very vocal guy, guys are going to feel him in the locker room, on the field, in the weight room. He’s going to let his voice be heard, and then he’s definitely a playmaker,” Bassey said.
“He’s a guy that’s going to make the right decisions, put guys in the right spots, and he’s not going to make too many bad decisions. He’s also a mobile guy, so you always have to be on your toes, and be locked in when you are playing against him.”
Wake Forest linebacker Justin Strnad said much of the same things.
“He’s a great guy, a leader, someone who is going to push himself and push his teammates to the highest level, somebody that came into Wake and from the beginning, had to work his way to become a starting quarterback,” Strnad said. “I think they’re going to get an ultimate competitor and somebody that’s going to help win ball games.”
The Bulldogs have their sights set on an SEC championship and College Football Playoff spot, and obviously there will be a physical challenge for Newman to get through the season.
Strnad said he believes Newman, who had 180 rushing attempts for 574 yards last season, is plenty durable.
“Jamie is a big kid, big-boned guy, it’s not hard for him to put on weight, he’s a thick kid,” Strnad said, asked about Newman’s frame. “I think he’s somebody that can run it between the tackles.
“It’s not often you see a quarterback that can carry the ball 25 times a game like he did for us and basically be a running back back there, but have the arm and the intelligence that he has,” he said. “I would just say he’s a precise pocket passer, somebody that stands in the pocket and delivers throws. He’s willing to take the hit, and that’s something he’s very strong at.”
The metrics from Pro Football Focus agree: Newman was ranked No. 2 to departing LSU quarterback Joe Burrow on throws of 20 yards or more and tight-window throws last season.
Bassey said Newman’s arm strength will not be an issue.
“He has a very strong arm, deep balls were really big for us this year,” Bassey said, “so he definitely has the ability to stretch the field, so I would say he has a pretty live arm.”
But more than anything, Bassey and Newman’s former teammates kept coming back to his leadership and work ethic.
“He’s an even-keeled guy, he’s not a guy that’s going to want all the attention,” Bassey said. “He’s just a calm guy, he’s easy to get along with, and he’s a personable guy. Everybody is going to like him.
“I know the type of worker he is, I know how hard he works, so I expect a lot of success coming out of him. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a run this year.”
Wake Forrest CB Essang Bassey