Newton Impressed By IU Unofficial

Bloomington, Ind. – It didn't take the IU coaching staff long to see what they needed from Carmel (Ind.) junior quarterback Morgan Newton. Despite having just six games of starting experience under his belt, IU offered the 6-4 ½, 210-pound signal caller...

Bloomington, Ind. – It didn't take the IU coaching staff long to see what they needed from Carmel (Ind.) junior quarterback Morgan Newton.

Despite having just six games of starting experience under his belt, IU offered the 6-4 ½, 210-pound signal caller a scholarship at the close of his sophomore season, the first program to do so.

"It was surprising," Newton said. "We have a great running back here at Carmel (Aaron King), and to get an offer before him, we were almost in shock at how early it came. It's a good thing."

Indiana might have been the first to be sold on Newton's potential, but a couple of others weren't far behind. Newton said Purdue offered him about a week and half after IU, and Iowa threw its hat into the ring with an offer earlier this fall.

So what kind of quarterback is this that these three programs covet? Newton is an athletic, dual-threat quarterback who has guided former IU assistant coach Mo Moriarity's squad to a 5-1 start this fall and a No. 4 ranking in Class 5A. He's completed 47-of-75 passes for 806 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding another 263 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Newton had one of his better games last week, completing 11-of-14 passes for 180 yards and two scores and rushing 10 times for 56 yards and another touchdown in Carmel's 41-14 win over North Central H.S. Carmel came away victorious despite the absence of King, who missed the game with an ankle sprain.

The day after his performance against North Central, Newton made the journey to Bloomington for an unofficial visit. It was his third unofficial visit, coming on the heels of trips to Notre Dame and Kentucky.

"It was exciting," Newton said. "At times is was frustrating seeing the team struggle, but overall it was a good experience. I saw a lot of things I liked about the university and the fans."

While that was Newton's first unofficial visit to IU, it wasn't his first trip to Bloomington. He was also in town over the summer during the summer camp season and had a chance to talk with IU's primary in-state recruiter, Billy Lynch, as well as IU quarterback coach and offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

"All the coaches I've talked to have been really personable," Newton said. "(Canada) said I have a really good upside. He talked about a couple of things I could improve on, like the length of my stride. So it was good to come down and hear from him about things."

As a dual-threat quarterback, the obvious comparison among IU fans is with the Hoosiers' current signal caller, Kellen Lewis. Like Lewis, Newton has a strong arm, but when a play breaks down he's capable of tucking the ball away and turning a negative play into a positive one.

Indiana appears to be targeting those sort of double-threat types in recruiting, and Newton looks to be their top target for the 2009 class.

"I'm no Kellen Lewis, obviously, but I guess you could say we're similar from the standpoint that he can run and throw and I can run and throw," Newton said. "I've only seen a couple of (Lewis') games, but I'd say he's probably more agile than I am, but I can run it and throw it, too."

As Newton gains more experience on the field, he's also trying to avoid leaning on his ability to run the ball too much.

"As someone who is able to run and pass, sometimes when things break down you have a tendency to run before you give the play the proper chance to develop," Newton said. "After playing about six games in a tough conference last year, coming back this year as the starter, I've noticed I've gotten better at staying in the pocket and letting things develop. Then, I can use the athleticism to get out of the pocket and run and make plays."

That's made him a better quarterback at Carmel, and an intriguing recruiting candidate for schools like IU, Purdue, Iowa, Kentucky and potentially Notre Dame, among others. While the interest in Newton is heating up, he's in no rush to make speed the recruiting process along.

"My parents are firm believers in making the best decision and not trying to rush into anything," Newton said. "So there's no much pressure coming from home or the coaches. Next summer will probably be when I get serious, to really start to narrow things down, or maybe even later than that because how coaches change. I'm just trying to get the best idea for what would be a good situation for me and my family."


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