In a surprising twist, Jamie Newman will never take a snap at the University of Georgia.
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported Wednesday that Newman, who transferred to Georgia back in January after beginning his career at Wake Forest, is opting out of the 2020 season and will begin preparing for the 2021 NFL draft. Newman later confirmed the news in a statement, saying the “uncertainties of this year amid a global pandemic” ultimately led to his decision.
When Newman left Wake for Georgia, he appeared to be in line to step into the starting role for the Bulldogs following the departure of Jake Fromm to the NFL. However, a curve ball was thrown into the Georgia quarterback picture when another transfer — JT Daniels, formerly of USC — also picked the Bulldogs in May. Daniels later received a waiver for immediate eligibility in July, creating a quarterback competition entering the 2020 season.
The uncertainty surrounding playing the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic also lingers and has led to a swarm of highly touted players — including many top NFL prospects — opting to skip the season and begin preparing for their professional careers.
Newman is an interesting case. At Wake Forest, he seized his opportunity late in the 2018 season when starter Sam Hartman went down with a leg injury. Newman helped Wake rally to a bowl game late in the year and carried that over into the starting role in 2019.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Newman excelled in Wake’s RPO-heavy scheme and used jump-ball receivers like Sage Surratt and Kendall Hinton to his advantage in the downfield passing game. He also played poorly down the stretch as Wake lost four of its final five games.
Overall, Newman threw for 3,959 yards, 35 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 19 games for the Demon Deacons. He also rushed for 826 yards and 10 scores in that span.
Newman’s departure opens door for JT Daniels at Georgia
With Newman out of the picture in Athens, Daniels is the clear frontrunner to start. Daniels started at USC as a freshman, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 last season. Daniels has been practicing with the team during preseason camp, but has not yet been fully cleared for contact.
There’s still time, though. Georgia opens its season on Sept. 26 against Arkansas, so Daniels has a few more weeks to get his knee ready.
Daniels was a five-star recruit who graduated high school early — reclassifying from 2019 to 2018 — to get to USC ahead of the 2018 season. He quickly earned the team’s starting job and threw for 2,672 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a true freshman.
Daniels was USC’s starter again to open 2019, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1. The injury opened the door for Kedon Slovis to move into the starting lineup for the Trojans. Slovis had a great year, and Daniels decided in April to put his name into the transfer portal. More than a month later, on May 28, Daniels announced his transfer destination: Georgia.
In addition to Daniels, UGA has junior Stetson Bennett (Fromm’s 2019 backup), redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis (who missed 2019 recovering from the removal of a cyst in his brain) and 2020 four-star recruit Carson Beck on the depth chart at quarterback.
Not only will Georgia have a new starting quarterback, it is working in a new offensive system under first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken. There’s other talent to replace, too, with four offensive line starters (three to the NFL, one transfer) and star running back D’Andre Swift (NFL draft) no longer in Athens.
UGA has a combined 36-7 record over the last three seasons with three SEC East titles, one outright SEC title and a College Football Playoff appearance. Kirby Smart is hoping upgrades on offense — quarterback included — can get the Bulldogs back to the CFP.
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