BRADENTON, Fla. — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is catching some shade underneath a cabana after his 7-on-7 team, led by 5-star QB Justin Fields , has notched a 31-8 win in its third game of the NFA7v7 national championship Sunday.
A reporter approaches Newton and requests an interview about Fields, the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat passer from Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga. Newton politely declines to talk, but does make this declaration:
“Justin Fields is the best recruit in the country. Write that down.” 5-star quarterback Justin Fields (right) receives pointers from his 7v7 coach, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton. (Chris Kirschner/SEC Country) That’s quite a compliment from the 2015 NFL MVP and No. 1 overall draft pick in 2011 . Like Fields, Newton is from the Atlanta area and was a 5-star QB prospect 10 years ago.
Newton played two seasons with the Florida Gators before joining Auburn as a junior college transfer. The Tigers won the 2010 national championship behind Newton’s Heisman Trophy campaign.
“Growing up when he was at Auburn, he’s kind of who I modeled my game after,” Fields said. “So it’s definitely great learning from him.”
In a state loaded with elite quarterbacks, being the handpicked signal caller of Newton’s 7-on-7 team is a testament to the transformation Fields has made in the past year.
After all, he hasn’t always been the nation’s most talked-about prospect.
“I think it was before spring last year, I just wanted an offer from Mercer,” Fields said with a laugh. “So I’ve definitely come a long way.”
Fields now holds more than 40 scholarship offers, but Mercer doesn’t have much of shot. He’s being pursued by several powerhouse schools and big-name coaches who want him to be their quarterback of the future.
Fields believes he can be a program-changing player in college, but the Elite 11 finalist hasn’t always felt that way.
“No, I’m going to be honest,” Fields said. “I probably didn’t feel that way last year. I guess, I didn’t know I was this good. I feel like sometimes I doubt myself when I shouldn’t. God’s blessed me with a great gift.” 5-star QB @justnfields with his first touchdown pass of the day at the @NFA7v7 . pic.twitter.com/Z12M1SM342 — Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) June 18, 2017 Deep TD pass from 5-star QB @justnfields . His team won its third game big. pic.twitter.com/BlLf7v34dW That gift was on display Sunday, as Fields picked apart several secondaries with his downfield vision and pin-point accuracy. He threw eight touchdown passes through the first three games with zero interceptions.
The pressure and expectations of being a high-profile quarterback doesn’t bother Fields, nor does the recruiting process.
“You just have to embrace it,” Fields said. “All the talk, you can’t let it get to your head. You just have to keep working, just how I was when I didn’t have any offers. So that’s just how I take it.”“I don’t really text a lot of coaches, so it’s not really [weighing] that heavily on my life. It’s not really that big of a […]