Newton Named Associated Press Player of the Year
Dec. 22, 2010
AUBURN - Auburn's Cam Newton added to his list of post-season awards on Wednesday, as the junior quarterback was named the Associated Press Player of the Year. Newton received 51 votes from the 60-member AP football poll panel.
Newton, winner of the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards, has compiled a nation-best 49 touchdowns while leading Auburn to a 13-0 record, its seventh Southeastern Conference title, a No. 1 national ranking and a spot in the BCS National Championship Game.
Newton became one of just three players in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history to accumulate at least 20 rushing and 20 passing touchdowns in a season, and became the first player in SEC history and one of nine players in FBS history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season.
Newton passed for an Auburn single-season record 28 touchdowns, rushed for an Auburn single-season record 20 scores and had a touchdown reception. He accounted for at least four touchdowns in eight different games this season, and his 20 rushing touchdowns are second most in a single season in SEC history.
Newton completed 165-of-246 passes (67.1 percent) for 2,589 yards and has an NCAA-leading pass efficiency rating of 188.16 that is on pace to set the NCAA single-season record. He became the first quarterback in school history to throw at least two touchdown passes in each of the first five games of the season, and has also thrown for at least two scores in each of his last five games.
Newton leads the SEC and ranks 15th nationally (second among quarterbacks) in rushing, averaging 108.4 yards per game, and is the only player in the country with five games of at least 170 yards rushing. His 1,409 rushing yards is an SEC single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback and third most by any Auburn player in a single season in school history.
In SEC games, Newton was even better on the ground, averaging 135.5 yards per game with 15 rushing touchdowns - both league bests - during Auburn's eight regular-season league games. He became the first player in Auburn history to rush for 170 or more yards in four consecutive SEC games and the first Tiger to score three or more rushing touchdowns in three consecutive SEC games.
Newton ranks 10th nationally in total offense, averaging 307.5 yards per game, and needs just 183 total yards in his final game to break the SEC single-season record for total offense of 4,181 yards set by Tim Tebow in 2007.
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Cam Newton lifted Auburn from the back of the Top 25 to No. 1 in the nation.
The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback led the Tigers into the national title game against No. 2 Oregon with a mix of flair and poise and enough highlight reel plays to widely split the vote among a handful of coaches and teammates asked for their favorite.
Newton has already raked in the Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien and Maxwell awards for his spectacular season. He added AP Player of the Year to his collection on Wednesday.
Newton received 51 votes from the 60-member AP football poll panel. Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore received three, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck got two and four ballots went unreturned.
In less than a year, Newton has gone from the obscurity of junior college to helping transform a team that went 8-5 last season and started this one ranked No. 22 to a perfect Southeastern Conference championship.
It wasn't all about the big plays, though. Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said he was more impressed by Newton's leadership in repeatedly bringing the team from behind, including a 24-0 deficit at Alabama.
"The sign of a special quarterback is one that has the abilities to make his teammates better and make his teammates believe in things that maybe they wouldn't believe without him," Malzahn said. "We've faced some major adversity earlier in the year when we didn't know each other that well.
"We were down to Clemson 17-0 at home and it was ugly as all get out. But he didn't change then. He's a rock, as far as all that's concerned. Doesn't panic."
It doesn't hurt that Newton's 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds with deceptive speed, nifty open-field moves, power and a nice arm. He broke the single-season SEC rushing record for a quarterback in the eighth game, a 28-carry, 217-yard effort against LSU. Malzahn also says Newton has proven he's "not a good thrower, he's an excellent thrower."
As the season wore on, Newton's skills bloomed.
In the SEC title game he accounted for six touchdowns in a 56-17 victory against South Carolina. That locked up a spot in the BCS title game on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz.
It's the second straight season Newton has led his team to the national championship game. He guided Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, to the JUCO championship last year -- only few noticed.
"We probably have more people in this room here alone than the whole junior college national championship game," Newton said recently.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik was asked about the highs and lows of Newton's season. He confined his answer to the field.
"I don't recall a lot of lows with him, but I recall a lot of highs," Chizik said. "I'm just impressed with him period, both as a person on and off the field and the way he has progressed as a football player for us in this system week by week. Obviously, he's one of the huge reasons why we're here, along with many others."
A snapshot view Newton's on-the-field exploits includes a handful of plays that helped a player whose bio consumes a scant quarter of a page in Auburn's media guide become the biggest thing on The Plains since Bo Jackson.
Newton's choice for his top play is TBA.
"I hope my favorite play comes during this BCS championship game," he said. "I still have one more game to play and I probably could tell you after this game."
Other players have already picked favorites going into the game.
--Against Kentucky, Newton leapt in the air and, falling backward out of bounds, managed to flick the ball downfield for a 33-yard completion to Kodi Burns.
"He scrambled out of the pocket and had guys all over him, fell out of bounds and threw it sideways about 45 yards on a scramble play," Malzahn said. "It's one of those plays when it happens right in front of you, you say did that really just happen?"
Not surprisingly, that was also Burns' choice for favorite play.
--A 71-yard touchdown run in the opener against Arkansas State before Malzahn really turned Newton loose as a runner 20-30 times a game.
"We had like a play-action rollout to the right side, and I think they just blitzed into where he was supposed to be rolling out and he just took off up the middle and basically followed (tailback Onterio McCalebb) where the fake was going and just took off down the sideline," recalled backup quarterback Barrett Trotter. "It was a long, long run. That being the first game of the year, I think that was one of the most impressive plays I can think of."
--Guard Byron Isom chose a much shorter power run when Newton steamrolled Arkansas linebacker Jerico Nelson for a touchdown.
"It was a counter play, and I had pulled, and he ran over the linebacker into the end zone," Isom said. "I think it just showed the all-around physicalness of him. That really stands out in my mind."
Other notable plays included:
A juking, power-punctuated 49-yard touchdown run against LSU when he dragged LSU All-American Patrick Peterson into the end zone after a finishing burst of speed.
A 54-yard run in the first meeting with the Gamecocks, when he changed direction to leave two safeties grasping for air.
And outjumping a defensive back for a 20-yard touchdown catch from Burns against Mississippi.
"The Ole Miss catch was pretty good," guard Mike Berry said, waffling. "The LSU run was pretty good. Oh yeah, and the South Carolina run. It's between those three."
AP Player of the Year List