Size and strength were two of Newman’s biggest assets as he navigated the North Carolina high school landscape. With the help of Newman’s former head coach at Graham High School, Anthony Timmons, he improved his passing accuracy and touch, molding himself into a well-rounded prospect.
“Man, this is a big eighth grader,” Timmons said when he reflected on his first impression of Georgia’s newest quarterback.
Newman, in 2020, finds himself in position to lead a Georgia team that has been to three straight SEC championship games backed by the top scoring defense in the nation last season.
The announcement of former Georgia starting quarterback Jake Fromm’s decision to leave school for the NFL on Jan. 8 left a gap in the depth chart moving into the 2020 season. Georgia was immediately active in looking for his replacement and reeled in Newman on Jan. 11.
Newman’s final year at Wake Forest saw tallies of 2,868 passing yards with 26 touchdowns and a 60.9% completion rate.
Newman’s play style brings something new to Georgia’s offense with his dual-threat capability. His rushing and passing abilities will force defenses to stay honest.
“I believe that Jamie can run the ball a little bit better than Jake Fromm, which is going to make it tough on the defensive coaches in the SEC,” Timmons said. “Instead of playing 11-on-10, you are now playing 11-on-11.”
The running game is where Newman will change the dynamic within the Georgia offense. The Bulldogs are historically a run-heavy team and their newest quarterback is also a threat on the ground. His movement gives head coach Kirby Smart and newly-minted offensive coordinator Todd Monken the opportunity to open up the playbook.
Newman’s path to joining the Bulldogs was entirely dependent on Fromm’s decision to leave school early for the NFL. At Georgia’s National Signing Day press conference on Feb. 5, Smart said once Fromm’s decision was final, the Bulldogs opened communication with Newman knowing that he was immediately eligible.
Former Georgia wide receiver Lawrence Cager was supportive of Smart’s decision to pursue the former Wake Forest quarterback.
“I was trying to tell Jamie when he was in the [transfer] portal to come to Georgia,” Cager said at his NFL combine interview on Feb. 25. “I knew what type of player he was and what type of team Georgia would be next year with him at quarterback.”
Newman’s transition to Georgia comes after an explosive year, showcasing his improvement at Wake Forest. He played in 12 games in 2019, more than double the appearances from the season prior, and made the most of the opportunity. Newman’s passing and rushing totals last season also tallied more than double his 2018 output.
Passion and work ethic were two things that stood out to Timmons when he first met Newman toward the end of his eighth-grade year. Newman had always worked hard, according to Timmons, but what impressed him was that his work ethic improved with every season in high school.
Newman will bring a different quarterback style to Georgia due to his dual-threat capability. More than anything though, Georgia is getting a seasoned veteran to lead its inexperienced quarterback room.
“I think what [Newman] is bringing to Georgia is a seasoned quarterback,” Timmons said. “You look at some of these quarterbacks in the NFL like Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers, they are like the old heads, but they make their teams better because of their maturity and their experience. That is what Jamie will bring to Georgia.”