How Jamie Newman Outsmarted Kirby

How Jamie Newman Outsmarted Kirby

Han Vance on Georgia football: You got played, Coach. It is as simple as that, and your annual Athens’ apologists – who called for Jamie Newman to win the Heisman, the freaking HEISMAN!, c’mon, y’all, you have to be smarter than that, please, folks – are still blind to the facts.

Cry me a river, (fans), Justin [Timberlake] sang.

Throwing 11 interceptions over a campaign, while accumulating one win to many losses down the stretch for a five-loss Wake Forest team, an afterthought of a football program even in a basketball state, Jamie Newman was not a household name in America.

Far from it.

He was the top-rated graduate transfer in a year that there were no big name winners at graduate transfer across the college football landscape, no Jalen Hurts or Clemson’s Bryant who had both played in the Natty (and lost as starters); no such players were out there.

Sure, four-game opt out D’Eriq King would (later) be available, after putting up 50 touchdowns the full season prior for Houston, and end up at a not-ready-yet “The U” of Miami.

Newman was “best available” at best.

Comparing Newman to Justin Fields – highest-graded overall athlete ever (it’s a quantifiable/numeric grading formulation, by the way, so don’t start arguing – with yourself) by several major recruiting services, coming out of Cobb County in high school, was so far beyond stupid I wanted to throw up.

This kid was no Justin.

After signing with UGA to much ballyhoo-B.S., not just in (get it?) a clouded-per-always Georgia football media red(neck) bubble, where truth is always afterthought and myriad excuses and “explanations” for losing our very biggest games every year are the norm which we’ve grown too accustomed to hearing said aloud, but also in the national media who started buying the “Kirby (suddenly) knows offense” now, after he selected James Coley to offensive coordinate the year prior, the hype/hope grew and was gobbled up like cherry candy. Washed down with “red” Kool-aid drank, while I knew it stank…all to high heaven, as my dude Boomer used to say.

This kid had “all the physical tools” as they say in scouting and no credentials whatsoever. And, he was no Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields or JT Daniels coming out of high school. He went to WEAK-forest, as evidence and didn’t start right away. That should have been the end of the story, in the offseason, and he could have (maybe) started and (maybe) been the man, in Athens.

The (5-11 at most) Mailman is the man, now.

When I was slogging through a post-season winter contract covering recruiting and upcoming spring football at UGA, for the USA Today Sports Network, it was stated plain as day by their writers/editor that this kid was an improvement over a Jake Fromm, who had credentials. Based on what?

Never by me, that’s for sure. I like to see it on the fields.

They actually wrote multiple daft combine articles on Jake Fromm’s hand size, which was 100% a deal-breaker for me as a journalist of 13+ years, who loved real actual football games.

More than Twitter and whatnot…I was like, BYE NOW.

I didn’t re-sign after that, had to instead bring my BIG HAIRY BLAWG back full-force, kept planning to join a new podcast, I’d host – The Dawg Pawd (www.SoundCloud.com or via Apple on your iPhone’s free built-in app) – and it finally all happened the way I wanted it to.

(…And then Dawgs won it all…dreamin’)

My younger classmate (I went to UGA 1990-1993 and 1996-1998, Presidential Scholar on Nat’l Deans’ List and UGA Dean’s List in the Nat’l Comm Honor Society, ran the set-up of the Tate Student Center, while playing four seasons of Intramural Hoops and once packing Champ Bailey and in the same league game losing a mid-air collision with player-coach Jonas Jennings, with zero fear whatsoever) – the football genius Kirby Smart – has never had any such luck with HIS quarterbacks. The buck stops with him!

No more finger-pointing.

One: He started D’Wan Mathis. The kid was in no way ready to play. Two: He watched as Justin Fields, who was best known for a fake punt “sneak” on 4th and 11 from midfield in a tie SECCG (blown by in-game coaching) played in Georgia, as far as any actual on-field stuff at UGA, accounted for 50 touchdowns to just three picks while winning a Power 5 conference and making the CFP. Three: He started Greyson Lambert over Eason, Eason over Fromm, Fromm over Fields regardless of talent and then each time wavered, afraid to make a mistake, he was instead just indecisive. Four: He promoted James Coley to play caller after watching Jim Chaney leave for a lateral position and saw Fromm’s NFL draft stock plummet from late first round projection to leaving school regardless of his impending draft tumble ahead. Five: Jamie Newman played him.

In now five seasons, Kirby Smart has no proven offensive stars in Athens right now, with his only projected star George Pickens still a character flaw waiting to happen and not even the leading receiver on a defense-first team. His feature back just went for 2 yards a carry on 22 carries, and have you seen the schedule upcoming…

Acclaimed Mark Richt recruits, Deandre Baker (Jim Thorpe Award), Roquan Smith (Butkus Award), Nick Chubb + Sony Michel (top yardage duo in NCAA rushing history), and a walk-on, from Sprayberry High, in Marietta, a kicker named Rodrigo Blankenship (Lou Groza Award), who didn’t even start the first few games at the beginning of his very best year as a starter, when he was behind Kirby’s choice, a kid named Ham, led HIS Georgia to the only SEC championship of Kirby’s tenure.

He recruited none of those weapons.

Downtrodden eventually and bad-mouthed routinely, unusually nice man Mark Richt won two (of the schools now-13) SEC championships in his first five years. I was (so) there.

I don’t want to hear about receivers going pro early, anymore, do you? I want to whip Bama and LSU (0-4), not witness one blowout per year, still. This is an all-Kirby, the greatest recruiter ever, team.

Jamie Newman – who trained with legit Heisman candidate Justin Fields during COVID – is now a well-known football name, awaiting the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, in Kirby’s birth state, where there is a big game Saturday night.

THIS is Week 4 in the SEC! It’s not for the timid and indecisive.