Cam Newton, the Heisman Trophy winner who led Auburn University to the college football national championship four days ago, will skip his senior season and declare for the National Football League draft.
Newton, 21, led the Tigers to an undefeated season and threw two touchdown passes as Auburn beat the University of Oregon 22-19 to win the Bowl Championship Series title game in Glendale, Arizona.
“It’s best that I make that next step in my career to forgo my senior season and to enter the NFL draft,” Newton announced in a video statement yesterday on the school’s website. “It was a very hard decision for me, a bittersweet decision, especially after coming off a great season at Auburn.”
Newton spent one season at Auburn after transferring from Blinn College, a junior college in Texas. He spent his freshman and sophomore years as a little-used backup quarterback at Florida before moving to Blinn.
Newton passed for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns this season and rushed for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns, winning the Heisman Trophy awarded annually to the best player in college football.
He also faced a probe into recruiting violations. The National Collegiate Athletic Association cleared him to continue playing, ruling during the season that Newton was unaware of a pay-for-play demand organized by his father.
Newton had scoring passes of 35 yards and 30 yards in the national championship game. He completed 20 of 34 passes for 265 yards against Oregon, while rushing for 65 yards on 22 carries.
“Just having this spectacular season is something that people at Auburn can hang their hat on, what an excellent legacy,” he said in the videotape. “What a way to go out.”