Morgan Newton entered the Wildcats program on a blistering high note. Alongside fellow four-star pro-style quarterback Ryan Mossakowski, Newton spurned a number of high-profile offers to play at Kentucky, including Clemson, Florida, Illinois and South Carolina. Newton and Mossakowsi were the chosen ones, selected to keep Kentucky climbing the SEC ladder.
Fast forward three seasons where Mossakowski has transferred to a junior college and Newton is second on the depth chart. Not exactly the original plan coming to life.
No. 12 has had his share of opportunities, and absolutely seen his moments of glory. Go back to October of 2009 when he led the Cats to their first victory over Auburn since 1966 in his very first collegiate start at quarterback. Filling in for the injured Mike Hartline, fans were ready to hoist the “Newton 4 Heisman” banners in the coming seasons.
However, if Remember the Titans taught us anything, it’s that, “You’re only as good as your last game.” And the last thing most Kentucky fans remember of Newton is his season fizzling out against South Carolina, Jacksonville State and Mississippi State in 2011. The final few games Maxwell Smith took over the starting duties and impressed enough people to boost him ahead on the depth chart.
It’s not easy being Morgan Newton, but he’s not giving up. Jennifer Smith of the Lexington Herald-Leader explains why he just keeps on trucking and is poised to be in the thick of the QB competition this fall.
“When you’re the backup, everyone wants you to come in and save the universe,” Kentucky’s senior said of the back-up quarterback role he’s played several times over the years. “You kind of wear the cape. It’s unrealistic.”
Expectations of the starting quarterback are unrealistic, too, Newton said, knowing that from experience as well.
“When you’re the starter, if things don’t go right, it comes back on the quarterback, regardless if it’s completely his fault or not,” he said at UK’s Media Day. “It comes with the territory. You have to take it in stride.”
There is an old saying that the backup quarterback is the most popular guy on the team. Maybe that will work for Newton in this, his senior season. Read more on Newton at the Herald-Leader’s website.