When thinking of Landry Jones the word adequate comes to mind. He's not really a game breaker/star has much as he is a game manager who's more expected to not lose the game rather than go out and win it. You can pretty much evaluate any of his performances away from Norman this year to see evidence of the fact that there just isn't a whole lot that the coaches trusted him to do. Of course much of that analysis comes from the perspective of an unfair comparison to a Heisman Trophy quarterback who was supposed to be running the show this year instead of Jones. There's also the patch work offensive line to consider when it comes to Jones' poor foot work, bad decisions and locking in on that one receiver only and forcing the throw even if he is in triple coverage. So where does that leave us going into next season?
The coaches have made the point that the quarterback position will be open going into the spring. So now we address the issue of exactly who will be on campus this spring? We know that Blake Bell won't be there as he is choosing to not enroll early. I don't disagree with his decision at all because the world changes once you step foot on a college campus and if you're comfortable in doing so those final months of high school should be cherished and enjoyed. What that does mean, though, is that Bell is most likely looking at a redshirt in 2010.
However, Bell's decision to stay in Kansas until the summer doesn't necessarily mean we're just looking at Landry Jones, Drew Allen and John Nimmo battling it out to be Oklahoma's signal caller. Oklahoma could be adding junior college national champion quarterback Cameron Newton to the roster. You may recognize that name as he was once the heir apparent to the holy one at Florida before running into a little bit of trouble. You know what they say, though, one man's trash is another man's treasure and there are more than a handful of schools who treasure Newton with Oklahoma being one of them.
We could get into Newton's past later on, should he decide to become a Sooner, but for now let's discuss why OU wants him. The fact that Kevin Wilson, Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell went to see Newton in person at the junior college national championship shows that OU clearly wants him. The fact that he was on campus in Norman the week later shows that he may want to be a Sooner, despite OU just now getting in on him.
"Honestly I didn't know what to expect coming to Oklahoma," Newton told Rivals.com network Web site SoonerScoop. com, "but right now I'm speechless and in awe of what I saw in the last 48 hours."
Newton is listed at 6-6/245 and is a legitimate dual threat quarterback. Coming out of high school in 2007 he was the nation's #2 dual threat quarterback prospect. His skills are there and improving and with all due respect to Landry Jones it would create a tremendous competition at quarterback this spring and maybe even through the summer.
"The thing that Cam's done all season is improve his passing game abilities, reading coverage and delivering the ball," said Blinn coach Brad Franchione. "That's what's impressed me the most about him. Every week I saw him improving his reading in our offensive system. He's gotten better. It's easy for a guy with his abilities to just set it on cruise control and just be a great athlete like he is, but I saw him improve and work hard to be a better passer."
In 12 games this season, at Blinn, he completed 204-of-336 passes (61%) for 2,833 yards with 22 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. He averaged 236.1 passing yards per game. He also ran the ball 108 times for 655 yards (6.1 YPC) and 16 touchdowns. He's the top junior college recruit per Rivals and the only J.C. recruit that they rank with 5 stars. Does all this mean that OU is looking to replace Landry Jones? Not necessarily, but it does mean they are at least looking at all the options.
"The schools that are recruiting him, there must be a need to bring a guy in that can play right away," Franchione said. "It's hard for me to judge what their depth chart is or anything like that, but when you recruit a junior college quarterback, it's because you need a guy to come in and play or at least compete right away for the starting job."
With a bowl game left to play looking forward to next season is a bit muddy. However, with the junior college signing period beginning today things could start becoming a little more clear should Newton decide to don crimson and cream.