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September 7, 2006When Atlanta (Ga.) Westlake dual threat quarterback Cameron Newton makes his college choice known on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. you can be sure of one thing in particular; it will be a well informed decision.
Over the summer he and his father Cecil unofficially visited the college campuses of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. The duo has also spent countless hours pouring over college websites, magazines and anything else they could find in order to help them gather information on the colleges under consideration.
Up until roughly two weeks ago, the plan in place was for Newton to put the recruiting process on the back burner while concentrating on his senior season. However, the Newton family quickly found out that would be nearly impossible.
With Cameron focusing on his football season, class work and senior year, his father Cecil has taken the lead role in talking to reporters about the recruiting process.
"It was more so my suggestion," admitted the senior Newton when asked about the change in plans. "He's on track to graduate in December and we just don't have a whole lot of time allotted on weekends to travel all over the country. There was really going to be a conflict between taking his classes, going here, going there, talking to this person, talking to that person. If we let it, it could have really taken away from his high school experience."
While many top prospects face the recruiting process alone, Cameron has had his father there beside him step-by-step.
Exactly what part did the elder Newton play in the decision?
"I'm a college graduate and played in two professional level programs," replied Mr. Newton. "I really understand the total gamut of the college experience. A seventeen year old can't possibly phantom making an informed decision.
"Most of them, if you really want to be honest, are basing it on the popularity of the school. Who's playing on ESPN, who's getting the most coverage. What's being said by Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso.
"A player might look at the size of the stadium or the popularity of the coach. Things that don't really give you the total scope of what the college experience is like. As a student-athlete, you're there to go to class, you've got to stay out of trouble and get an education. Obviously you're going to take the athletic experience into consideration, but so many of them get lost in the shuffle when they make decisions based on things that have no business being part of the equation."
Now that the homework has been completed, it's decision day.
Here on the eve of his announcement, the choice has been made according to Mr. Newton, "Our mind is made up, but we haven't told anybody yet. Because we didn't visit a particular school, shouldn't suggest they are out of the running."
When asked what 'football' factors played an important part in the choice, Cecil responded, "The stability of the program and the coaches, the fan support and the talent base surrounding Cameron.
"The program needs to be competitive before he arrives as opposed to waiting on him to elevate the entire program himself. That wouldn't be fair to him."
Strangely enough, in this day and age of instant gratification, Newton isn't as concerned with depth charts as you might expect a top notch quarterback to be.
In other words, he isn't looking for playing time guarantees.
"Cameron is going to challenge for a position from the day he shows up, but we don't mind the process of having to wait. I taught him to be prepared. He will be prepared enough to compete, but patient enough to wait."
Near the end of the interview, the 6-foot-4, 232-pound, Rivals250 member came through the door from practice in just enough time to inform InsidetheGators.net of how the announcement will play out on Thursday.
"I'm going to have hats on the table from Oklahoma, Mississippi State, Florida, LSU and Ole Miss."
According to the 4-star prospect, at this time not even the lucky school knows of his decision as of yet. "I'm probably going to call the coaches at some point tomorrow (Thursday)."