College coaches never quite know what recruits will become over the course of three or four years, so forgive Steve Spurrier if he didn't clearly see what was coming for Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Of course, Newton's ascent began with a Heisman Trophy-winning season at Auburn and continued with a national championship, followed by a No. 1 overall draft selection, and ultimately, a starting and starring role in Sunday's Super Bowl 50.
What Spurrier saw when Newton attended a South Carolina football camp as a prep recruit, he now admits, was another possibility.
"And I was smart enough to say, 'If you can't make it at quarterback, you could be a heck of a tight end,'" Spurrier told the SEC-centric website GridironNow.com.
That, presumably, didn't go over well with the former five-star recruit who eventually signed with Florida. After a discipline-related dismissal from UF, Newton had a spectacular season at Blinn College in Texas, then went on to the aforementioned successes. Now, at least at the college level, the next Cam Newton is what most colleges are looking for.
"Fantastic athlete. He's the quarterback of the future," Spurrier said. "Every team in America would like to have somebody who is big and strong and can run like him. It really puts a lot of pressure on the defenses. So he's the prototype quarterback now."
"I said, 'You know, looking back now, obviously it was best for Peyton to go to Tennessee because we already had Danny Wuerffel. If both of them would have been at the same school, one of them wouldn't have gotten a chance to play and do what he did,'" Spurrier said, recalling a conversation with Peyton's father, Archie Manning. "'So sometimes in recruiting, maybe it's not supposed to be.'"