SI.com: Cam Newton and his decision to go pro
Cam Newton celebrates after Auburn won the BCS national championship.
January 14th, 2011
01:42 PM ET

SI.com: Cam Newton and his decision to go pro

After winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship this season, Cam Newton had little left to accomplish his senior year at Auburn. Which is why he’s going pro.

The Tigers star quarterback will aspire to be an NFL first-round pick next after announcing his decision Thursday to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Newton put together one of the greatest seasons in college football history this year, capped off with a 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS title game Monday.

Many expected Newton to declare for the draft after leading the Tigers to a 14-0 season and their first national championship since 1957. The quarterback spent just one season on Auburn’s campus, but said it was a “difficult” decision nonetheless to leave the school and go from playing football on Saturdays to Sundays.

"It's been a blessing for me to be a part of something so great," Newton said. "Any time you win games it's a big deal, but for this school to win a BCS national championship, what a way to make people happy. Auburn is a special place that I can call home."

In addition to his play this season – which earned the Heisman, broke a handful of SEC records and garnered a slew of national accolades – Newton also received plenty of press after reports claimed his father, Cecil, asked for a pay-for-play plan from Mississippi State when shopping around his son’s recruitment.

The reports clouded Newton’s otherwise flawless season and led him to be ineligible for a day. But the NCAA reinstated him almost immediately and ultimately deemed Newton’s father to be guilty of wrongdoing, not Cam.

Nevertheless, money will no longer be an issue for Newton, who is likely to earn plenty of it in the NFL. At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Newton boasts an incredible combination of speed, strength and accuracy. He rushed for an SEC-record 1,409 yards and 21 touchdowns and passed for additional 2,589 yards and 28 TDs this season. He also became the first SEC player to run for 1,000 yards and pass for 2,000 in the same year. In an early mock draft, SI.com’s Andrew Perloff has Newton going No. 16 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but with many QB-needy teams the Heisman winner could go even higher.

Newton isn’t the only Tiger expected to announce his NFL intentions this week. Star defensive tackle and Lombardi Award-winner Nick Fairley is likely to announce his decision to go pro today. While Newton stole most of the headlines this season, some experts predict Fairley going as high as No. 1 in the 2011 Draft.

Here’s what to watch tonight (all times Eastern):

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs (8 p.m., ESPN)
Dallas has gone just 2-6 while Dirk Nowitzki continues to heal from a sprained knee. The road doesn’t get any easier for the short-handed Mavs tonight when they take on the Spurs, owners of the NBA’s best record (33-6) and winners of four straight.

Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
Portland will try to take advantage of the league’s worst defense, but could be without star Brandon Roy for the rest of the season. The Blazers shooting guard is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery in both knees next week.

BY THE NUMBERS

2 – Misdemeanor charges former NFL great Lawrence Taylor plead guilty to Thursday for sexual misconduct and patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute. Taylor won’t serve any jail time, but will serve six years of probation and must register as a sex offender.

21 – Points scored by Carmelo Anthony in the Denver Nuggets’ 130-102 victory over the Miami Heat, the team’s biggest loss of the season. LeBron James sat out the game with a sprained ankle. SI.com’s Ian Thomsen delivers his take from the beatdown.

$35 million – Size of relief pitcher Rafael Soriano’s three-year deal with the New York Yankees. The former Rays pitcher led the league with 45 saves last season, but will serve as Mariano Rivera’s setup man in the Bronx.

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Big Game James

    Go get 'em Cam. The haters are giving you all kinds of fuel.

    January 15, 2011 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. LMNOP

    Well, since he's already been paid off to play college football, the transition to the NFL should be fairly easy.

    January 15, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ed Bailey

    His track record and the college rule s enforcers are impecable.NOBODY cares about obeying the law.he just might start some type of dog business like his mentor.no big deal except americans spend way to much money to watch overpaid men run around and play kids games.

    January 15, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Erin

    He's an Auburn Man. Y'all must be proud.

    January 15, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Big Game James

    @Ed Bailey Stick that one back where you pulled it out of.

    January 15, 2011 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tony

    Why not start Game farms, instead of using a College seat up that a kid some where with a brain can utilize, have people who want to go into Games (football, baseball etc) go there instead, it would make a whole new concept.
    Think about it, start them out young like 5 or 6, raise them on good feed and water, never know we can have a Soldier farm also.
    OK, I am being sardonic here, like the saying goes A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WATSE.

    January 15, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. The_Mick

    "After winning the Heisman Trophy and a national championship this season, Cam Newton had little left to accomplish his senior year at Auburn. Which is why he’s going pro." +++++ "Little left to accomplish"? That sure assumes the scholarship football players are not really college students! Actually if I advised him, I'd tell him to go pro because he'll be a first-round pick and he could get injured at Auburn next year and mess up a big payday. He can go to school at night if finishing a major is important: As a senior Chemistry major at UMBC I tutored All-Pro Baltimore Colt OT John Williams: he needed Organic Chemistry credits to get into Dental School – and he did become a dentist after his football career.

    January 15, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. 85md

    There should be a requirement that all athletes entering into the Pros should complete college. No early entry. Professional sports are not going away unless greedy owners and athletes become even more greedy.

    January 15, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Supernova247

    Perhaps, someone can help me make sense of all of the naysayers. Aren't the objectives of life to be happy and make a living doing something that pays you; and it's even better if you are paid to do what you love – correct? We all have to live and earn a living. That's a part of life, so what is everyone talking about? The objective of going to college is to get a degree and a job – a well paying job if you're lucky. There is no guarantee that he will get a high-paying job with a degree – especially with everything that has been going on in the economy now. So, with his talents as an athlete, he's got a real shot at the big-time – not to mention he has a chance to be a multi-millionaire. Everyone has been talking about the sport of football; but no one has said anything about the endorsement opportunities that could make him even more money in the future. Cameron is a hot commodity right now. Why shouldn't he capitalize off of it? Everyone else has – even his own father, whose actions Cam bore no knowledge of. He obviously loves the sport; and he's great at it. Why not get paid to do what you love if given the opportunity? Not to mention, he has looks, charm and charisma which will also take him places. So, we are not talking about an average, run-in-the-mill Joe of a college football player here. We are talking about a star. Are we not?

    January 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mysticdriver

    How much good would a degree have really done him? Have you heard him talk? Not a communication major I'm guessing

    January 16, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. da funkee 1

    Could care less about Cam going pro. He has a beautiful smile. Cougar material.

    January 16, 2011 at 5:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. Severe Tooth Pain

    You are actually a good webmaster. The site loading pace is amazing. It seems that you're doing any distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a excellent task in this topic!

    April 15, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
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