Updated: January 30, 2016




By Tony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus





EDITOR’S NOTE: With Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, California approaching, we here at BASN will be commemorating the upcoming event with our own special flavor. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be bringing you little tidbits and other insights about Carolina’s dynamic field general Cam Newton leading up to his team’s showdown with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on February 7th.


Today: Doing time in Gainesville.



NEW HAVEN, CT (BASN):By the time a young Cam Newton was a junior quarterback at Westlake High in Fulton County, Ga., the essence of his overall game was starting to come into form.

During that season, Newton established himself as one of the best scholastic players in the state. Similar to what we’ve seen over the years, Newton was the focal point for coach Dallas Allen’s offense.



He accounted for 32 touchdowns (23 passing, 9 rushing) for the Lions. He completed just over 62 percent of his passes while throwing for just over 2,500 yards and nine picks. He also added another 638 yards on the ground.



By the time he reached his senior season, Newton was one of nine quarterbacks listed on the Atlanta Constitution’s Super Southern 100 squad. He also was the winning quarterback for Team East (28-14) in the inaugural All-American Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.



It seemed fitting that Newton would eventually find himself at the University of Florida under Urban Meyer. The Gators were just coming off a National Championship and their very under appreciated quarterback Chris Leak was graduating.



Despite the fact that Leak was named the starter at the beginning of the 2006 season, Meyer also deployed freshman Tim Tebow during many goal line situations. It created a quarterback controversy that Meyer never paused to try and quell as the season progressed.



While Meyer’s spread offense seemed to be a perfect fit for Newton’s talent, Tebow was named the starter at the beginning of the 2007 season. Newton would be the primary backup.



In the season opener against Western Kentucky, the Gators won 49-3 as Tebow led the offense to touchdowns during their first four possessions. Newton would make his college debut.



He scored a touchdown late in the game and while flashing signs of brilliance, Newton never really got much playing time that year. In five games, he passed for 40 yards on 5-of-10 and rushed 16 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns.



Tebow would win the Heisman Trophy that season after a record-setting season. Newton returned in 2008 for his sophomore season. He played in the season opener against Hawaii but suffered an ankle injury and took a medical redshirt season.



Not long after that, an incident that still haunts Newton occurred that all but put an end to his time in Gainesville. On November 21, Newton was arrested for receiving stolen property after purchasing a stolen laptop computer from another student.



He was subsequently suspended from the team after the laptop was found to be in his possession. Campus police stated that they “tracked the stolen laptop to the athlete. Newton tossed the computer out his dorm window in an ill-advised attempt to hide it from us.”



All charges against Newton were dropped after he completed a court-approved pretrial diversion program. It was an incident that tainted his career in Florida and sullied his early image.



To this day, Newton has stated publicly how the laptop incident changed him. “I believe that a person should not be thought of as a bad person because of some senseless mistake that they made,” said Newton in 2010. “I think every person should have a second chance. If they blow that second chance, so be it for them.”



Just three days after the Gators won their second BCS crown in the last three years, Newton announced that he was transferring to Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas. After winning the 2009 NJCAA National Championship, Newton would resurface in the SEC with the Auburn Tigers.



And we all how that turned out.



NEXT: Cam and Heisman Trophy QBs in the Super Bowl.





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