The show has arrived on campus at Howard University and it’s starring Caylin Newton. The youngest brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has the surname and he’ll definitely have all the promotion and pressure that comes along with being related to an NFL MVP. But can he live up to the hype? Howard’s already off to its most promising start in a decade but the college football season is still young. Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley of the AFRO Sports Desk debate the big question of whether or not Newton can really build up the Bison.
Riley: I’m not sure how many games Howard can win this season but the flare will definitely be there. Newton is going to draw a crowd and the Bison are going to be in contention. Those two are givens. He’s nowhere in the same class physically as his older brother but he’s a talented football player who could have a terrific career as a Bison. Newton has already made history with Howard, topping UNLV on the road last week for the biggest upset in college football history. The hype has already been established.
Green: The older Newton won titles in two different divisions, won the Heisman, then went first overall in the draft. Even Bo Jackson would be hard-pressed to live up to those accolades. But at 5-foot-11 and 175 pounds Newton has a few things working against him. He doesn’t have the size of his older brother (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) to just carry a team on his back and grind out a season. He’s plenty talented but he doesn’t have the physical makeup nor the teammates to emulate his brother’s storied collegiate career.
Riley: He might not have to match his older brother’s career to be successful. Cam Newton’s physical dominance was great for Auburn, a first class football program playing with and against NFL-caliber talent. For Caylin Newton playing inside the MEAC, he’s perfect. The football expectations at Howard are far different than those at Auburn and that’s OK. Anything that the younger Newton gives the school will simply be a bonus, but as long as he keeps engineering underdog upsets then the school will benefit. Whether it’s through recruitment or revenue, Newton’s presence will benefit the program and that’s exactly what Howard needs.
Green: So, you’ve already conceded that the older Newton won’t be matched, Riley? Sure, Newton can easily make a splash at Howard—any remotely-talented recruit with star ties could. He’ll do well for the Bison and put some excitement in the stands. But, if we’re talking about the younger Newton being anywhere close to his brother in terms of talent then that’s a clear “no.” We all want to see Howard dominate headlines and be a football power and Newton could very well lay the groundwork for that. But will he galvanize the program to division titles while winning season MVP awards? I don’t see it from this miniature freshman signal caller.