It’s not “official”, and given Kirby Smart’s tendency on such things I wouldn’t look for an official announcement any time soon. But multiple individuals have noted the presence in UGA’s student directory of a Jamie La’Jai Newman of Graham, North Carolina.
Which could be a weird coincidence. Or it could mean that this Jamie La’Jai Newman of Graham, North Carolina has in fact chosen the Bulldogs as his transfer destination. Assuming this is the case, a few preliminary thoughts:
- Highlight tapes can be very misleading. Greyson Lambert’s from Virginia looked great until you saw him dancing in the pocket and skipping footballs across the turf against FSU. The Lambert who struggled with pressure but was solid in a clean pocket was the one we got. That being said, Newman clearly has plenty of arm, nice touch, and makes some really solid reads.
- At 6’4, 230 pounds Newman has a sturdy build that should help him hold up in the SEC, especially if he’s going to be allowed to run the ball the way he has in Winston-Salem. Newman was Wake’s third leading rusher in 2019 with 574 yards and 6 touchdowns on 180 attempts.
- Jake Fromm completed 60.8% of his passes for 2860 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2019. Newman completed 60.9% for 2868 and 26. If you’re looking for a distinction it’s that Newman threw 11 picks this season and Fromm only 5. However 6 of those came in losses to Louisville, Virginia Tech, and Clemson.
- A player like Newman who’s started at a Bowl-caliber Power 5 team doesn’t leave that to sit on the bench. And it’s fair to say that he’ll be the odds-on favorite to win the starting job in Athens. He’s the only player in the upcoming Fromm replacement derby with serious FBS experience. While he may not be Joe Burrow, he doesn’t have to be for Georgia to be effective on offense. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus recently rated Newman the third best returning signal caller in college football behind only Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence. If those results play out on the field, well, that would be pretty neat.
- It’s easy to imagine a scenario in which Carson Beck and D’wan Mathis apprentice under Newman for a season in 2020 before battling it out as a redshirt freshman and sophomore respectively with an incoming blue chip freshman (perhaps either Prince Avenue Christian standout Brock Vandagriff or Washington DC standout Caleb Williams). In that respect Newman could be a critical bridge to a longer term QB solution for the Red and Black. Until later...