The Cam Newton 7-on-7 organization is unique, for obvious reasons and beyond. SI All-American takes a little bit of a closer look at what it brings to the table, starting with discussing the leader of the organization himself, the NFL quarterback, and how he interacts with his 15-and-under team.
The larger than life figure that won a Heisman Trophy while at Auburn and led the Tigers to the 2010 national championship. He also earned the NFL’s MVP award in 2015. During that same season, Newton led the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 regular season record before finishing the season as the Super Bowl runner-up.
He’s amassed one of the most unique statistical records in NFL quarterbacking history with 190 passing touchdowns and a league record 70 rushing touchdowns from the QB spot. Still, the Cam Newton 7-on-7 organization is more about Newton off the field than his exploits as a NFL player, even when challenged about his pro prospects.
One of the Cam Newton 7-on-7 coaches for the 15 and under team, Trent Francis, helped to elaborate about Newton’s role with the players.
“Cam and the foundation do a lot for kids on and off the field," he said. “He is at every practice and every game. He really gets to know the kids and talks to them about life.”
If you really want to know just how down to earth Newton is about being around the players, the following statement tells the story.
“If we eat at Golden Corral, Cam eats there too. He stays at the same hotels we stay at.”
It is encouraging that someone with Newton’s fame and financial security continues to be directly involved with high school players. His charitable work stretches well beyond the football side of the foundation, too.
The visibility and example are something that many of these young men can lean on in the short term and into the future, and it’s also something that the coaches for the organization appreciate.
“Coaching and working for the best 7-on-7 organization in the country, the Cam Newton Foundation, is a great experience," Francis said. "Coaching the 15 (and) under (team) the past two years has been fun because it has allowed me to coach a lot of great players that are even better people off the field. This 15 (and) under (team) this year is no different.
“They are a joy to be around and actually all cheer on each other on and off the field. They all have big futures if they continue to do what has got them here to this point.”
As for the way the organization is operated, there’s no shortage of coaches or trainers involved. From practices to actual games, these young men have access to people committed to the game of football.
“The advantages of playing with The Cam Newton foundation are endless,” Francis stated bluntly. “You are getting great coaching from some of the best coaches and trainers in the country every week. You get to be around a lot of people who have been and played at the levels you aspire to be at.”
It’s not just football that the Cam Newton 7-on-7 team focuses on for these young men either. Life outside of the game of football is important to Newton, and he expects his players to contribute to society.
According to Coach Francis, “The community service work you do with the (Cam Newton) Foundation teaches the importance of giving back to your community.”
On and off the field the players are learning, but it’s still the game of football that brought these young men together. The 15U team is just beginning to go through the process, as off-season football in the spring circuit is one of the country’s most competitive and complex competitions. That’s where the importance of competition comes into play.
The assistant made it clear, from his perspective, that there’s no shortage of talent for the young squad.
Francis continued to discuss the advantages the program from a tangible perspective. “Also, as a player you are competing against the best players in practice almost every weekend. Most times the practices are tougher than the games.”
Francis then described why he believes the team will benefit, player by player, where the kids may think it counts most.
“This 15U Red team is loaded with talent and a lot of these guys are playing alongside the players that will be top recruits in their class," he said. "They will be seeing the same kids at national camps, visits, and all star games . That’s the advantage playing with (the) Cam Newton 7-on-7 team over playing for any other team.
"Every player will go back to their high school teams better.”
While Newton’s fame follows him each and every place he goes, he’s also the same guy when he’s coaching 15-year-olds while navigating NFL free agency this offseason.
After watching Newton coach up close, there’s no question he’s passionate about each and every one of his players. The game of football has been really good to Newton, and he’s been giving back to the game and his community with the consistency one would expect of a decorated veteran at the game's most important position.
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