Newman appeared to have an early edge, having been on campus since January while Daniels didn’t arrive until voluntary workouts in June.
Newman, in an interview released strictly to high-level donors earlier this summer, said his primary reason for choosing UGA was the competition level.
“What really led me to come to UGA was just the opportunity to compete against that defense every day in practice,” Newman said.
“I’m getting 12 games in the SEC, but I’m getting a number of practices versus the best defense in the SEC. So that’s kinda what drove me to come to UGA.”
The competition may have run hotter than Newman expected. Both Newman and Daniels had their issues at times with the Bulldogs’ top defense.
Coach Kirby Smart said more than once leading up to the summer workouts that there was legitimate competition at the position.
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The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Newman possesses unquestionable arm strength and athleticism.
But there was a learning curve going from Wake Forest’s RPO scheme to UGA’s pro-style spread.
It didn’t help matters that the Bulldogs missed out on spring drills and were forced to rely on Zoom calls to get their quarterbacks acqauinated with the new scheme.
There were concerns with Newman’s ability to make throws in the intermediate pass game, which is crucial in most “Air Raid” schemes.
New Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken has brought that offense to the Bulldogs, looking to spread the field out and create more explosive plays.
All-Time SEC passing leader and former UGA quarterback Aaron Murray explained why Newman was struggling with his touch throws last month.
“It’s something Jamie needs to work on,” Murray said on Birmingham’s WJOX 3-Man Front program. “It’s a little bit less of him trying to muscle the ball, and I think it’s a little bit more of Jamie needs to loosen up a little bit.”
The first sign the Bulldogs might not be comfortable with Newman at quarterback came in May, when Daniels transferred in from Southern California.
Daniels is not yet completely cleared from the knee injury he suffered in the Trojans’ 2019 season-opening game, Smart said, but he has been healthy enough to take reps and scrimmage.
Daniels split first-team reps with Newman last Saturday, even while still in a knee brace.
Anthony Timmons, who coached Newman in his hometown of Graham, N.C., and has served as his mentor, said he’s surprised by Newman’s decision.