Jamie Newman set the college football world into a brief tizzy Wednesday afternoon. Out of nowhere, the Georgia graduate transfer opted-out of the 2020 college football season. Of course, in the "Hot Take" time period that we are in today, everyone has a theory on why Newman elected to opt-out. We are going to go through several of the theories, and you can decide which holds the most water.
Let's Take Him For His Word?
I know, believing what a player says is so naive, right? How dare I suggest that when a player says that he's discussed it with those closest to him and has arrived at the conclusion that there are just too many uncertainties surrounding playing during a pandemic, that he may just be telling the truth. Everyone wants to talk about the arbitrary timing of Wednesday's announcement, but I don't see too many people discussing the University of Georgia reporting 821 new cases of Coronavirus Wednesday morning, or the report from experts saying the number could likely be three times as high.
People don't seem to want to talk too much about that. And perhaps they have become immune to players opting out of their college seasons and using the virus as an "excuse." Wherever you stand on this decision, at least start with connecting the dots on him telling the truth. Innocent until proven guilty—or in this case honest until proven quitter—it is what this great nation was founded upon.
Quincy Avery, Future Agent In His Ear
There's no secret here. Quincy Avery is a great quarterback trainer; some would say he's one of the best. And he spent the offseason working with Newman. He's not just a quarterback coach to these young men either, he referenced himself as more of an "older brother" to his clients on the Ryen Russillo Show.
Well, big bro isn't afraid to speak his mind, and he hasn't exactly been a proponent of playing in the midst of a pandemic either.
As someone who's watched Avery work with some of these players, I do believe he has what's in their best interest at heart at all times. Which means sometimes college programs are going to get the raw end of the deal. As for the future agent, we all know the deal there.
Was He Going to Lose the Job?
Ahhhh, the hot take of every angry fan on twitter: "He left because he wasn't going to win the job anyways." And perhaps there is some merit to that. Perhaps JT Daniels was picking up Todd Monken's complex system at a higher rate. Perhaps Daniels has looked great despite not having been fully cleared. All of these things are possibilities, in fact, they may even be true. Except Newman was going to get a chance to start the season, in my opinion.
Kirby Smart isn't a dummy. He knows that Newman is not going to be his last graduate transfer quarterback that he needs to go out and secure. And the next time he's after one, had he convinced Newman to come to Georgia over dozens of other suitors to simply sit on the bench, it would have been used against him.
Now, that's not to say that Newman could have started the season, played poorly, and then Smart would have had to pull the Saban swap, inserting Daniels in there. But you've at least got to allow the graduate transfer the chance to start.
Satisfied with Current Draft Position
Newman has landed anywhere from the third round of NFL mock drafts to the bottom of the first round. And perhaps he realized that the best thing to do for his future is to leave things where they were. Maybe those "uncertainties" that he spoke of in his statement are more about the potential for some of his key offensive linemen or wide receivers going down with COVID, leaving him stuck putting bad tape out there for NFL evaluators to look at.
People already chastise the young man for his performance against Clemson last year, "Oh, look what he did against the only good competition he played." Yet they fail to mention star receiver Sage Surratt wasn't on the field. Or that Scotty Washington, the team's third-leading receiver, was not on the field.
Or perhaps it was a combination of all of these topics. Perhaps it was the COVID spikes on campus, combined with the trainer and agent in his ear, on top of a heated QB battle when he thought the job was promised, combined with an already decent draft grade that he didn't need to compromise.
As often is the case in life, the answer is most likely a complex one. One that required a drawn-out, thought out process. One that required a collection of as many data points as possible. Maybe, just maybe, it was a bit more convoluted than your fiery 280-character hot take on that bird app.