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.”