Less than four weeks out from Georgia’s season opener against Arkansas, the Bulldogs have suffered what could be a catastrophic blow as quarterback Jamie Newman has reportedly decided to opt out of the season due to the coronavirus.
Newman is a grad student and played the 2019 season at Wake Forest throwing for over 2,800 yards and 26 touchdowns a year ago. Many thought that Newman would be the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback this season, so him sitting out in preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft is a bit of a shocker.
Source: UGA QB Jamie Newman is opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. He’s expected to begin training for the 2021 NFL draft. Newman transferred to UGA from Wake Forest following the 2019 season.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 2, 2020
Newman wasn’t the only transfer in Georgia’s quarterback room heading into this season. He was expected to compete with JT Daniels, a USC transfer, for the starting job. Daniels was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA and now looks to be the definitive No. 1 quarterback on the roster. Daniels, a sophomore, made just one appearance for the Trojans last season before suffering a torn ACL.
This is the first big-time quarterback to opt-out this season and could open up the door for quarterbacks from around the county currently enrolled at schools not playing football this fall to transfer. Those players would have to jump through the NCAA’s many hurdles to gain eligibility, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.
LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, arguably the best wide receiver in the country, decided to opt out this season as well. Both Newman and Chase will have their names called very early in the NFL Draft, so maybe this is a start of a trend for top-tier players sitting out and not risking any health or injury issues with a paycheck so close.