Cameron Newton, QB, 6-5, 225, ATLANTA (WESTLAKE HS), GEORGIA:
At this point in the recruiting process, Atlanta, Ga. quarterback Cameron Newton is not talking to the media as his father — Cecil Newton — is now doing the talking for him. So to find out the latest with the 19th-best quarterback in the country, we went straight to Mr. Newton.
JH: Why have you decided to not let Cameron talk to the media anymore?
CN: "Now that the season is upon us, our first game is Friday night, I just thought it was best that Cameron concentrate on his senior season and school. Cameron is getting a lot of text messages and he is getting a lot of attention. If Cameron is going to do what he needs to go to graduate early and have a great senior year, he has to totally focus on his school and his season.
"I respect the recruiting process and I am honored that so many coaches and media feel that my son is worthy of so much attention and is being called one of the best quarterback prospects in the country. However, in saying that we have his senior coming up and whether Westlake is going to have success is resting entirely on Cameron's shoulders.
Cameron wants to have a great senior year and he wants Westlake to have a great year. And with school, football and recruiting going on it had become to cumbersome for him. It was getting to cumbersome to take calls at 10:30 to 11:30 at night, early in the morning and all the texts that he was receiving. I kind of want him to focus on what he does as a senior athlete in high school."
JH: Have you talked to the Oklahoma coaches at this point?
CN: "No, I haven't. I really haven't. I think it would be best served for me to talk to them, because a 17-year old kid doesn't know all the parameters that go into making a decision about college. I do, because I have coached Cameron since he was three years old from the kitchen table to the age that he is now. We have talked football, X's and O's at the breakfast and dinner table.
"Actually, the preparation for the game is won from a psychological or preparation perspective, not just showing up and playing the game. The preparation process and making the adjustments when need be and reading the tendencies that the defense gives you increases your opportunities to make the plays that you anticipate making."
JH: So are you going to try to make contact with Oklahoma soon?
CN: "I thought Cameron had been talking to them quite extensively, there is no need for me to jump into the picture right now. I have great respect for the Oklahoma program, I really do. I have followed them back in my day, which was Billy Sims' day. I really know it is a rich tradition and an outstanding program.
"It is very unfortunate what happened to the kid regarding him being dismissed from the program, but we won't have time to come to Norman. It is not that I wouldn't like to, but we wouldn't have time. I told this to other scouting analysts — that you can find out enough about a program on the Internet and through circular magazines. I read a lot of magazines and kind of keep up with programs, not just sporadically over night, but what has been going on the last two, three to four years."
JH: So he will not be taking any more visits at this point?
CN: "Before the announcement, he won't. We just don't have time. I would have welcomed the opportunity and Cameron would have normally taken more opportunities to take visits, but he was with the team Georgia 7-on-7 All-Star team during the later part of July, which those three weekends kind of hampered our opportunity to come to Nebraska and Oklahoma.
"We didn't even visit LSU and Ole Miss, and they have been tracking him for about a year-and-a-half. Some of the camps that we did go to conflicted with some of the camps that were being offered pretty much around the country. So you couldn't be in two or three places at one time."
JH: Since you say that you are not going to visit OU, does they really have any kind of legitimate shot at signing Cameron?
CN: "Seriously, they do. Seriously. There have been some things that we have been studying for the last six to eight weeks. I am just trying to make him conscientious of certain things. Obviously, you have programs out there that have Heisman candidates and everybody likes to play on those teams. Everybody wants to hear Kirk Herbstreit talk about them on College GameDay. There is a lot of fanfare that goes along with this stuff. However, in all reality we can't make the visit.But it doesn't exclude them. Just like LSU or even Central Florida, who have come on strong here of late. We just can't make every visit.
"I would say that we do have a reasonably strong interest in a program like Oklahoma, and it would be safe to say this that whatever decision that Cameron and I make we are going to guard it to the extent that to make sure that the wheels don't run off the program that we want to commit to. We need to make sure that they stay in line with what we expect to happen during the season, not in terms of just wins and losses.
"We are trying to figure the offensive scheme, the offensive package and what kind of system do you have in place? What did you run last year? Is it just a generic something that you have just put together or is it a system that Cameron can play comfortably from within as a dual-threat quarterback at 6-5 and 225 pounds. He is a prototypical Vince Young type guy. Every system doesn't fit that type of athletic ability, so what I want to do, even after the announcement, is study programs to see if the program that we do announce with and commit with stay in line with what we expect them to. Does another team have the kind of presentation of a system that Cameron could come right in and adapt to, not just get on the field and play?
"I am not really interested in my son playing his freshman year. I am really not. I think college is a big step and it is a lot of adjustments to make. It is a lot of systems to learn and before he is ready. I would rather he wait and develop than to get out there prematurely and not perform up to the expected level. The depth chart is quite important as well though."
JH: What are the key things that you are looking for in a program at this point?
CN: "Obviously, the rich tradition of a program and the stability of that program, as well as the coach's tradition and history. Secondly, the depth chart and the academics associated with some of my son's interests. I did say a couple of weeks ago and since we have retracted that we were looking strongly ACC and SEC, but I must note that actually the Big 10 schools don't heavily recruit in the Southeast, or at least to my knowledge.
"I think that is because it is partly because there are so many schools in the SEC like LSU, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and South Carolina. They have a rich opportunity right here on the East Coast, but over the last two to three years I have not known many guys out of Atlanta, outside of the guy from Peach County that wound up at Ohio State. They just haven't shown a strong presence on a visitation basis, and it is quite costly I would imagine flying all over the country."
JH: I know you have narrowed down your decision, so what schools are you still considering? And do you have a favorite?
CN: "Let's start with the SEC. We have Florida, LSU, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Those four schools have showed a continued allegiance. They have talked to Cameron's head coach and have interacted with Cameron. I haven't interacted with them. I just kind of stepped into the picture the last six to eight months. I am a live-at home-dad and I kind of took a back seat prior to his senior season. But now the decision rest soleley on me and my son. Those schools, since his junior year, have been tracking him quite frequently. Then you have Oklahoma. Who can't deny the rich tradition and prestige of Oklahoma? Who can deny that? So they are in the top five."
JH: Are you dead set on the September 8th to make the decision?
CN: "Actually we are going to make the announcement on the 7th. We have to bump it down, because the 8th is his second game. It is a home game and we really don't want to the distraction. So what we are trying to do is make the announcement on the 7th that evening. We are supposed to do a television press conference, but we have to get clearance from our new principal at school. She is trying to implement now policies and the 7th is an open house at the school.
"We made her aware that we had an interest in all the media showing up on the 7th. She hasn't gotten back with me about making this announcement. If she declines then we will probably have to go to the television station (CSS) and make the announcement. I wanted to get this behind us so we could focus pretty much on the season.
After the season, after I feel that Cameron has a real grip, I am not denying the fact that we might take some other official visits. We might do that, because some things can run amok. You don't know that until things presents themselves. With that, the commitment is going to be what it is and I don't really want to prostitute fan bases and play one had against another. I really don't like doing that kind of stuff, but the option would still be open to make a visit in case plan A doesn't work, we perhaps have a plan B in place."
JH: Again are you saying that you don't plan to get a hold of the OU coaches before you make the announcement?
CN: "I want the record to show that I have a premium respect for the Oklahoma program, regardless to whether I ever talk the coaches or not. That is just me from my personal perspective. If I had to call the OU coaches, or if I had to call a whole bunch of other people who would like to talk to me like George O'Leary, Urban Meyer to Steve Spurrier, I really couldn't get on with the business that I am supposed to do from day-to-day, with all due respect.
"Again, we are trying to evaluate each opportunity on its own merit and see where we rank or stand with the depth chart, and just kind of play it like that. I kind of feel for Oklahoma. When I saw that they are going to take the wide receiver guy who was formally a quarterback and bring him back inside, you have to make kind of adjustments. This is kind of going to serve as a patch-up season and they are going to try to get some guys in there who can help them plug that hole."
Recruiting: QB's father breaks it down
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