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January 13, 2011

Newton will forgo senior season at AU

Now that Cameron Newton has attained the highest feats of college football, he will forgo his senior year as a Tiger and enter the NFL draft.

Newton announced his decision through a press release from Auburn University's media relations department.

"This decision was difficult for me and my family," Newton said. "After talking to Coach Chizik and Coach Malzahn, I think it is best that I make that next step in my career and forgo my senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

"It was a very hard decision for me, especially after coming off the great season we had at Auburn. I'm blessed to have been around an excellent environment and have great teammates, coaches and support from the Auburn family."

Newton will leave Auburn as the most accomplished player in school history. The Heisman Trophy winner, Davey O'Brien Award winner, Walter Camp and Associated Press Player of the Year accounted for 1,473 rushing yards, 2,854 passing yards and combined for 50 touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 42 yards with a touchdown.

"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."

The quarterback's 4,369 yards of total offense makes him the SEC's all-time leader in the category. Newton's astounding statistics bumped former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow down to No. 2 (4,181 yards). Newton's 182.05 pass efficiency also set an SEC record.

After the Tigers won the SEC Championship, head coach Gene Chizik referred to Newton as the best football player he has ever been around in his 25 years of coaching.

Newton arrived at Auburn in January 2010 after transferring from Texas' Blinn Community College. He led his former team to a junior college national championship in 2009. Before his two-year stay at Blinn, Newton spent two seasons at the University of Florida.

In the spring he was part Auburn's four-way battle for the quarterback job and was eventually named the starter after the A-Day game.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Gus Malzahn has spent countless hours with Newton on the practice field and in the film room throughout the season. Malzahn has been pleased with Newton's progress, particularly his passing.

"Cam has thrown the ball extremely well," Malzahn said in mid-December. "The receivers stepped up. Our line has gotten in time. We really felt like he was an excellent thrower. He's improved there. His decision-making has been outstanding -- not putting the ball in jeopardy, knowing when to throw, knowing when to tuck and run.

"He's really coming over the top. He's always staying on top of it. His rhythm is really good. He's throwing it really well."

Newton hurt his back during the game, but still managed to complete 20 of 34 passes for 265 yards with two touchdowns during the Jan. 10 BCS National Championship. The extent of his injury has not yet been made public.

His biggest statistics of the season came in the SEC Championship game against South Carolina. Newton rushed for 73 yards and passed for 335 yards with four touchdowns. His 408 yards of total offense set an SEC title game record.

"We appreciate Cameron's many contributions to Auburn and the outstanding leader that he was for our football team," Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said. "He had one of the greatest individual seasons ever by an Auburn player and was a key part of our championship run.

"Cam will always be a member of the Auburn family and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."

The 2011 NFL draft will take place April 28-30 at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.


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