JUCO QB's dad didn't want son to be a 'rented mule'


During the recruitment of junior college quarterback Cam Newton, it was widely believed that Mississippi State was the leader for the services of the No.1-rated JUCO prospect in the country.

It made sense, after all, as Dan Mullen is the Bulldogs head coach, and Newton’s familiarity with the coach — Mullen was the offensive coordinator at Florida during Newton’s brief stay in Gainesville, shortened by sticky fingers to another person’s laptop — naturally gave MSU the early edge in the process.

However, once Newton and his father started to seriously look around at other schools — Auburn in particular — the perceived lack of talent in Starkville compared to other schools involved in the process opened the door for Gene Chizik to swoop in and swipe the talented player from Mullen’s grasp.

Speaking to the Montgomery Advertiser, Cecil Newton was very blunt in assessing how MSU went from the early front runner for his son to also-ran.  Basically, we’re talkin’ ’bout talent, man.  Talent.

“We both decided what to do a few days before we went to Gene Chizik, but Cam was apprehensive,” the father told the Advertiser. “He was leaning toward Starkville. He had that relationship with Dan Mullen and there was a comfort level there. 

“I didn’t think that was the right place for Cam. They just don’t have all the moving parts. Cam was going to have to be the star. He’d have to do everything himself. I didn’t want him to be a rented mule.

“Auburn has far more varsity players returning, they have more skill players, they’re attracting more highly recruited players and it’s right down the street.”

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.