News: Old James Newson Article from The Oregonian

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by jdnalls, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. jdnalls

    jdnalls New Member

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    Beavers' hidden asset
    OSU's James Newson might be underrated, but he's not unappreciated

    Friday, November 21, 2003
    CORVALLIS -- He bench-presses 330 pounds. He has a vertical leap of 34 inches and he runs a 4.5 40-yard-dash. But the NFL scouts think James Newson might be a step slow despite his precise routes and his uncanny ability to get open on third down.

    Two guys named Williams have higher profiles in the Pacific-10 Conference.

    And USA Today ignores him while it goes on and on about Pittsburgh's Larry Fitzgerald.

    No wonder Newson, the most prolific wide receiver in OSU history, stares into the ABC or Fox or TBS cameras and mouths the word "underrated."

    Underrated. As if that makes up for being no better than honorable mention all Pac-10 last season when he had 74 receptions for 1,284 yards, 12 touchdowns and averaged 17.4 yards per catch.

    In the Insight Bowl, Newson was arguably the best player on the field in a game against (ahem) Pittsburgh. Then he shows up on campus last fall and they tell him one magazine rates him the 16th-best receiver in the nation and another has him No. 17.

    Please. Do you really think Pac-10 cornerbacks come back to the huddle after Newson has either turned them inside-out or leveled them with a straight-arm and say, "Man, he's pretty good for being the 17th-best receiver in the country!"

    Yes, he's pretty good. OSU coach Mike Riley compares the 6-foot-1, 208-pound senior to a pretty good player he coached at USC, Keyshawn Johnson. Great comparison, talent-wise. Very bad comparison, attitude-wise.

    You see, Newson was the first player to congratulate Mike Haas last week after Haas went over 200 receiving yards against Stanford.

    Newson, who only has two touchdown catches this season, served as a decoy for Haas all afternoon. But the Beavers won 43-3, which was all that mattered. Really. So Newson picked Haas up and gave him a bear hug as the former walk-on from Jesuit High came off the field.

    Freeze-frame that image and you understand why Newson's teammates love him.

    "It kind of defined James," Riley said, "defined what this team is about and what they think of each other."

    When Oregon State and Oregon meet Saturday in the 107th Civil War, watch the intense one-on-one battles between Newson and the Ducks cornerbacks.

    If it seems he has something to prove out there, well. . . .

    "There's a chip on his shoulder," said OSU wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander. "It's personal for James, but in a limited way. It is crazy the way he gets overlooked because I think he's as good as it gets."

    But he is not overlooked at OSU.

    "He just brings so much emotion to the program," tight end Tim Euhus said. "He gets it rolling in the locker room. He gets everyone energized. Guys see him make big plays; they want to make their own big plays."

    Opponents respect Newson. He forces them to.

    Keith Lewis, the UO free safety who can be so dismissive about the abilities of his opponents, thinks Newson is terrific.

    What better compliment is there?

    "Am I a 'secret?' " Newson says. "Well, you look at last year, and I was one of the best in the nation. Then I ended up having the best bowl game of any receiver in the country. . . . Statistics and a lot of other stuff show I should be (rated) one of the best, but I don't get enough publicity to really put me out there like I should be."

    He's out there. He's all over the OSU record books. The only receiving record left for Newson to break at OSU is Vern Burke's career touchdown mark of 19 set in 1962-63. Newson also has 19, with games left against the Ducks, USC, and whomever the Beavers play in their bowl game. Not bad for a player heavily recruited by OSU, and . . . Nevada-Reno. Not bad for a player who wondered initially if he chose the wrong sport. Arizona coach Lute Olson was ready to sign him up for basketball.

    "It (basketball) was more in my heart," Newson said. "If I had to do it over again. . . . "

    Newson's struggles in five years in Corvallis are well documented. Forgive him if he laughs at the suggestion that a hip pointer (preseason) and a bruised heel (current) are obstacles he had to overcome.

    Newson broke his leg in a serious car crash before his first game. Three years ago, he was involved in an off-season scuffle that led to a three-game suspension, but he caught his first collegiate pass in the Fiesta Bowl rout of Notre Dame. He changed his lifestyle, got more serious about school, and became determined to leave a lasting legacy at OSU after serving his apprenticeship under Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Robert Prescott.

    When it was his turn, Newson exploded. He had the breakout year in 2002. This season, he leads the Pac-10 in receiving yards per game (117.7) and is No. 2 behind Washington's Reggie Williams in receptions per game (7.00). Newson's career numbers include 195 catches for 3,325 yards and 19 touchdowns. His average per catch, 17.1, also is a school record.

    "I was thinking the other night about everything that has happened to me here," Newson said after Tuesday's practice at the Truax Indoor Center. "I just want to thank God for all the things he's helped me get through. I've thought about what I've done for the program and what the program has done for me. You know, I just want to thank everybody who has been a part of that."

    Riley recruited Newson and can still vividly remember sitting in his living room, talking to his parents. But Riley left for the San Diego Chargers before Newson could put a uniform on.

    "I'm glad I came back for his senior year," Riley said. "You couldn't coach a better guy. He loves to play, he loves to practice. He makes practice fun. He and (middle linebacker) Richard Seigler always have something going on. I think this place has impacted his life in a great way. It's ended up like a storybook career here."

    And it isn't over. The Ducks just wish it was. They couldn't cover Newson last year -- he had 11 catches for 168 yards and one touchdown in OSU's 45-24 Civil War win -- and coach Mike Bellotti isn't sure what the plan will be Saturday.

    "The biggest thing with James is to now allow him to get behind us or make the huge run after the catch," Bellotti said. "We'll have to find ways to double him and get help covering him, yet we also have to pressure (Derek Anderson) and stop the run. Got any ideas?"

    Bellotti describes Newson as "a very physical receiver who can dish it out as well as take it in terms of bump-and-run coverage. He makes a tremendous amount of catches while he is very well covered."

    Maybe it was all of those one-on-one basketball games at the Dixon Recreation Center, but Newson seems to revel in close contact. He is almost disappointed when a cornerback doesn't challenge him physically. And the fact is, for a person who writes poetry in his free time, he can be flat mean out there.

    "I like the competitiveness," Newson said. "If the DB is going to give me a hard time, I'm going to have fun with that. Up close and personal is what I like. I like to really get in somebody's face."

    The fun usually is one-sided. There aren't a lot of corners, Oregon's included, who can match Newson's size and strength.

    Riley thinks Newson can play in the NFL next season, "because he just makes plays. Whoever drafts him, he'll be pretty difficult not to have on that team because he will just be who he is. Relentless. He'll catch balls. He'll block. He'll run fast."

    Fast enough?

    "I don't see it as a problem," Newson said. "I've beaten anybody who has stepped in front of me. I find a way to get open every time I run a route. If (speed) is an issue, then those NFL scouts are going to have questions when I'm running faster than I'm supposed to."

    Underrated? He won't be in this game. Paul Buker: 503-221-8167;
  2. jdnalls

    jdnalls New Member

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    Bump. Really good read about our UDFA WR from Oregon State.
  3. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Sweet post - I posted another earlier.

    This guy is Bolden...........He may not only make team but press for serious PT

  4. Duane

    Duane Well-Known Member

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    I agree JD. I'm more excited about him than I am any of our day two picks. He's a guy that's played at an extremely high level in a big time conference.
  5. Cbz40

    Cbz40 The Grand Poobah

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    A Very good read JD......Thanks for the post.

    This guy is a good pickup..........This player has heart. He's just a good football player.
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Red, White and brew... Staff Member

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    Agreed - it just doesn't make any sense that this guy wasn't drafted.
  7. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    I had no idea Lute wanted him for Hoops.
  8. ravidubey

    ravidubey Active Member

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    As Mick would say, "Why was he available?" Seriously, the kid sounds like a player-- how is it he was totally overlooked in the draft?
  9. jdnalls

    jdnalls New Member

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    Pulled a hammy before the Oregon State pro day and ran a poor 40 (4.84 when he normally runs a 4.48 to 4.52), and also was involved in a serious car accident back in 99 and now has a steel beam in one of his legs that seemed to have scared off some teams.
  10. 2much2soon

    2much2soon Well-Known Member

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    I saw him play a few times this year and was impressed. He was tough and agressive (although a couple of Boise State defenders got in his head and goaded him into a personal foul penalty).
    I think he will be able to replace Randall Williams and be much more productive.
    Heckuva job by Dallas to snag him.

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