Senior Recap: James Newson

Consistency and James Newson go together like electric orange and jet-black on a fall day in Corvallis. His 37-game streak of having caught at least one pass is a permanent record of how solid he is at grabbing the pigskin.

Since his first catch, a 14-yard strike from Nick Stremick in the 2000 Fiesta Bowl, he has never looked back. The NFL bound receiver will leave OSU as the most successful receiver in school history and one of the best ever to play in the Pac-10.

After completing his high school football career at Edison High School in Stockton, CA, where he was named a first-team all-league selection his junior and senior years, the MVP of the San Joaquin Athletics Association League arrived in Corvallis in the fall of '99.

"I have coached 27 years and I would rank him as one of the top five athletes that I have ever coached," Edison High School head coach Frank Carido told OSUBeavers.com. "that includes five players who have played in the NFL--Vince Ferragamo, Freeman McNeil, Frank Manumaleuna, Eric Williams and Danny Reece. James is definitely a big time player who will be an impact player."

Big Game James played in three bowl games for the Beavers.  He also holds to the top two receiving yardage seasons.

With current NFL player T.J. Housmandzadeh and the talented Robert Prescott in front of him during the 1999 and 2000 seasons Newson had to wait for his time to shine. Unfortunately, talented players in front of him were not his only problem as he broke his left leg in an automobile accident the weekend prior the start of fall camp in '99. A steel rod was inserted into his leg and a long road of rehabilitation lay ahead of him.

Fueled by a strong work ethic Newson resumed running by the end the time the Ohau Bowl rolled around and by spring drills of 2000 he was almost at 100-percent. During a spring scrimmage he grabbed 11 passes for 92 yards, but was blanked in the spring game a few weeks later. The coaches were concerned with his inconsistent play, a football characteristic Newson soon eliminated.

Almost one year after his automobile accident Newson faced another set back. This time he was suspended for the first three games of the 2000 season after getting into a fight at a party. As a result, he did not see his first collegiate action until the seventh game of the year against UCLA. After the Bruin game , he participated in the final five games of the season, mostly on special teams.

With the graduation of Housmandzadeh and Prescott, Newson was forced into the role of the Beavers go-to receiver during the 2001 campaign. Replacing the consistent, precise routes of Housmandzadeh was a daunting task and most Beaver fans were skeptical of Newson's ability to take over a starting role.

Newson holds every Oregon State single-season and career receiving record.

A number one ranking by Sports Illustrated and a hostile environment at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, CA filled Newson's first game as the Beavers' primary receiver with a myriad of distractions. The sophomore took the hype in stride catching six passes for 72 yards during the Beavers' 20-point loss. The next six of seven games he led the Beavers in catches as he started to establish himself as one of the most consistent receivers in the Pac-10.

Newson's 2001 high point came against Northern Arizona when he caught 7 passes for a career high 190 yards and two touchdowns. In his first year as a starter Newson grabbed 57 passes for 968 yards and five touchdowns earning him honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors. He finished the season as the Pac-10's third leading receiver and had the league's fourth highest yardage total.

Despite Newson's sensational sophomore year, his 2001 statistics pale in comparison to his junior stats. At the conclusion of the 2002 season, Newson broke OSU's season receiving records in yards (1,284) and touchdowns (12) and came within five receptions of breaking the single-season reception record.

He finished the season strong catching a touchdown pass in the final five games while grabbing 11 passes for 168 yards and one touchdown against Oregon. Newson also performed well on a national stage against Pittsburgh in the Insight Bowl where he torched the Panthers for 165 yards and one touchdown on 10 catches.

Newson will suit up on last time in the collegiate ranks for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.

In spite of being named a preseason Bilentnikoff Award candidate and putting up solid numbers, Newson was named a Pac-10 honorable mention selection again. In a conference stacked with a several talented receivers Newson was often lost in the shuffle with Reggie and Mike Williams.

With a renewed determination the California native continued his assault on the Oregon State record books his senior season setting season records in receptions in a season (81) and yards in a season (1,306).  He also was part of only one of two 1,000-yard tandems in Pac-10 history when teammate Mike Hass passed the 1,000-yard mark in the 2003 Las Vegas Bowl.

Most teams used double and sometimes triple coverage to try and contain Newson, but rarely did it work as he caught 81 passes for 1,306 yards and three touchdowns. His 2003 performance earned him a first team All-Pac-10 selection and a spot in the Senior Bowl. The talented receiver finished his career at OSU as the most successful receiver in school history and one of the most successful in Pac-10 history. He finished seventh on the all-time Pac-10 list in receptions (213) and third in receiving yardage (3,572) behind Stanford's Troy Walters (4,047, 1996-99) and Washington's Reggie Williams (3,598, 2001-03).

After his five years at OSU, only three as a starter, Newson holds all of OSU's single-season and career receiving records.

Fans, players, and coaches will certainly miss Newson's enthusiasm on and off the field. He was definitely a team leader and was always on the sidelines encouraging his teammates on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

"James was our playmaker, a great clutch receiver for Oregon State," head coach Mike Riley said. "He and Richard, they made practice fun for their teammates and coaches."

The 24-year old is bound for the NFL where he will hopefully have a long and successful career.

Have a memory about Big Game James you would like to share...post it on the message board.

Big Daddy Orange's memory:
I'll tell you my memory. It's that catch against Pitt in the Insight Bowl. He caught the pass while laying out but kept his knees from touching and got up and ran for a touchdown. James was technically down, but the refs let it slide, not out of ignorance of the rules or because they missed the play, but because of their appreciation of James's great play.

 CAREER STATISTICS
YEAR     PC    YDS     AVG   TD   LG
----     --    ---     ---   --   --

2000      1     14    14.0    0   14
2001     57    968    17.0    5   58
2002     74  1,284    17.4   12   86
2003     81  1,306    16.1    3   53
        ---  -----    ----   --   --
        213  3,572    16.1   20   86

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