The Georgia Bulldogs will have a loaded quarterback room in 2020 which includes graduate transfer Jamie Newman. In addition, there is redshirt sophomore/USC transfer JT Daniels, true freshman Carson Beck, and junior Stetson Bennett. That will likely be the order of the depth chart this season. Redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, freshman Jackson Muschamp, redshirt freshman/Nevada transfer Austin Kirksey, and redshirt freshman Nathan Priestley will likely be the guys on the practice squad for the Bulldogs this year.
Those top four guys are loaded with talent and could form one of the top quarterback rooms in the nation. Jamie Newman is the likely starter this season for the Georgia Bulldogs, but there will likely be a battle once training camp starts in the coming weeks.
Georgia Bulldogs QB Room: Jamie Newman
Experience – Newman has many upsides when compared to some of the other quarterbacks on the roster. He comes into the season as the most veteran Bulldog at the position. During his time at Wake Forest, Newman played in 19 games, taking over as the full-time starter in 2019. During that final season, Newman completed 60.9% of passes and led the Demon Deacons to a Pinstripe Bowl appearance, falling just six points short of Michigan State.
Statistics – Stats by themselves are not positive, but looking at Newman’s numerical success is important. In 2019, he was top five in the ACC in completions, passing yards, yards per attempt, passing touchdowns, total yards, and touchdowns responsible for. On paper, Newman is a very impressive quarterback.
Arm Talent – Newman can make some truly beautiful throws at times. He has the arm strength to push the ball downfield when needed. Further, he can keep the ball in a tight spiral. His accuracy is above average at short to medium distances. Last season, Newman had a higher pass completion percentage and yards per attempt than Jake Fromm did. However, he beat him out by only one-tenth of a percentage and half of a passing yard. So, Newman is going to be somewhat similar statistically to what Fromm was.
Mobility – Newman’s ability to move will be what is able to set him apart from some of the other Bulldogs quarterback options. In 2019, he had the sixth-most rushing attempts in the ACC and more attempts than his own starting running back. Newman is able to use his legs to get out of trouble when the pressure is on. Avoiding sacks is huge when you are facing the tough defensive lines in the SEC.
Progressions – One of the first things you notice when looking over some of Newman’s tape is how often he stares down his first option on passing plays. That is concerning for a couple of reasons. First, he will not be able to do that against the defenses in the SEC. In 2019, Newman was second in the ACC and tied for 12th in the nation in interceptions thrown. That means three percent of his passes, or one out of every 33 passes, is intercepted. The second reason that is concerning is the fact that Newman is a graduate transfer. He played high school football for four years and has been in a college program for four seasons. This is something that should have been seen by now and been fixed. By this point, a habit that ingrained is going to be hard to break.
Running – As was mentioned above, Newman is a mobile quarterback, and that is a strength in a lot of circumstances. Although, he had the sixth-most rushing attempts in the ACC. When he feels the pressure, he has a tendency to immediately tuck the ball and take off. This goes back to the lack of looking through progressions, as well. Option one is not open and the pocket is closing, so Newman chooses to scramble. Again, that will be tough to correct because of how entrenched in his playing identity it is.
Deep accuracy – While Newman does have the arm power to push the ball down the field, he is wildly inconsistent on passes further than about 20 yards. It is easy to see in a lot of his deep passes. He was often bailed out by great catches from his receivers on those deep balls. He has plenty of arm strength to get the ball there, but not the control to put it where it has to be to give his receiver a chance to have positive yards after the catch.
The player comparison is abundantly clear when watching Newman: Kelly Bryant. On the surface, both players spent four years in the ACC Atlantic division before moving on to the SEC East as graduate transfers. On the field, both have the arm talent to make good throws and the legs to avoid defenders both in and out of the pocket. Further, they have similar yards per attempt (7.8 vs 7.3), completion percentage (60.5 vs 64.6), and an interception to touchdown ratios (.46 vs .52). Both guys averaged right around three yards per carry and found the end zone with their legs roughly five times per season.
Newman does have the chance to be more successful than Bryant was in his SEC conquest. He will likely have a more talented team around him. Due to this, he will have an opportunity to challenge for a conference and potentially a national title. He should be the starter when the season opens. Hopefully, by that time, he has worked on some of the fine-tuning issues.