Now boarding in Atlanta and the entire state of North Carolina – the Cam Newton bandwagon.
The former Westlake High School star has won rave reviews — even from his longtime critics — after posting Nintendo like-stats and breaking NFL rookie records in each of his first two starts. Newton passed for 432 yards and two touchdowns, along with three interceptions, in Sunday’s 30-23 loss to the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers.
Newton’s high school coach expected big things for his prized pupil in the NFL. But maybe not like this, at least this soon.
“I think Cam is playing within his talents,” Marquis Slaton told the AJC. “The Carolina Panthers’ offensive coordinator [Rob Chudzinski] is doing an outstanding job of putting Cam in position to be successful with his play calling. He really seems to know how to utilize Cam’s talents and abilities.
“Cam spent a lot of time with [Chudzinski] during the preseason, understanding the offense in bits and pieces, and learning to take what the defense gives you. Cam has given lot of praise to [Chudzinski] helping him to grow and to understand the level of play on the professional level.”
Slaton is a mentor for Newton after coaching as Westlake’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2004-08. Slaton is now head coach at Banneker High School and remains close to his former star quarterback and his family. Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, attended Banneker’s first three games this season.
“Cam’s NFL start has been phenomenal; it shows that he has something you can’t teach and that’s composure,” Slaton said. “It shows how well Cam has prepared himself from week to week. Cam’s preparation has always been second to none. He has always been a student of the game with preparing for opponents.
“Cam knows there are great expectation for him, and his attitude all along has been that he’s got to get better. So I think the best is yet to come. These first two weeks … they are just the beginning.”
What do I think? I can’t remember anyone making such a meteoric rise in the football world. I mean, around 14 months ago, Cam Newton was virtually unknown coming out of Blinn Junior College. I know, hard to believe. In the span of around one year, Newton has led Auburn to the BCS championship, won the Heisman Trophy, was selected as the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and set rookie passing records in each of his first two starts. I mean, at some point, this has got to stop. Right? He’s putting up numbers in the real NFL like you could with Bo Jackson in Nintendo’s “Tecmo Bowl” video game.
TODAY’S BIG STORIES
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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