Sometimes It's More Than How You Play
USC senior Syvelle Newton has become the ultimate team player. He represents what "doing whatever it takes to win" is all about. However, admit to yourself, who would have seen this coming?
Newton has always been labeled as a cocky kid. When making his college choice, he put on a Clemson hat, only to toss it aside and announce for South Carolina. Early in his career, he came across as cocky and arrogant when being interviewed. However, Newton showed on the field the willingness to change positions as long as he was playing. Newton was a winner and would do whatever it takes to win.
In 2004, Newton was one of the Gamecocks who was taunting the Clemson players as they came down the hill. He was also one of the guys who stole a picture from Williams Brice Stadium of Lou Holtz and himself. After that season, as a fan, you knew his effort on the field was undeniable, but his off the field actions left you wondering about how good of a young man he really was.
Then his junior year rolled around and it became clear that Newton was a changed person. Newton played wide receiver under Coach Steve Spurrier, and the once known cocky player and person began to become the man he is today. Newton would be the one to lead the team on the field during 2001, and when Spurrier wanted him to change positions, he excelled at it.
Then the achilles injury took Newton away from what he did best. It was here, in my opinion, that Newton became a true leader of this team. He worked extremely hard to get back and amazingly returned for the opening game of his senior year. The once young cocky kid is now a hero to young Carolina fans today.
So it's not surprising that Newton changed positions two more times this year and immediately played well at each one. What would shock me is if Newton failed and said he was too good to not be where he wants to be. When you ask Newton about moving positions today, he may give the typical "I just want to help the team" answer, but you know he truly means it.
Newton represents what being a true team player is all about. He's a leader on and off the field, and years down the road when my kids are learning how to play the game the right way, I'll remind them of a true team player. Some guy named Syvelle.
It's not shocking that Newton received the largest ovation of any senior when announced Saturday. Go ahead and say it, you saw that coming four years ago. However, after sacrificing so much for the good of the team during his career at Carolina and maturing both on and off the field, no one deserved the ovation more than Mr. Newton.
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