Justin Fields, 5-star dual-threat quarterback from Kennesaw, Georgia (Harrison High School), is a big-time 2018 recruit, and it sounds like he’s being mentored by someone who knows a thing or two about being big-time: Cam Newton.
Newton, the current Carolina Panthers star and former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner, has a 7-on-7 team and Fields is undoubtedly the star player. In fact, when asked recently to discuss the 5-star quarterback, the 2015 NFL MVP had this to say, according to Zach Abolverdi of SEC Country:
“Justin Fields is the best recruit in the country. Write that down.”
Newton is entitled to his own opinion, of course, but he obviously knows a thing or two about high-level quarterback play, especially from a dual-threat quarterback. For what it’s worth, though, the rankings seem to agree.
According to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite, Fields isn’t the top recruit in the country, but he’s sure pretty close. The Composite ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in the nation, behind only 5-star pro-style quarterback Trevor Lawrence and 5-star strong-side defensive end Xavier Thomas — both Clemson commits. Fields is the top dual-threat quarterback in the country, though, and he’s the No. 2 ranked player from Georgia, behind Lawrence.
Without a doubt, Fields is a big-time player. He didn’t need Newton’s high praise to affirm that, but it helps put things into perspective. There’s a reason Fields has 40-plus offers, with most of the elite football schools in the country after his commitment.
Speaking of offers and a commitment, the 5-star did open up a bit about his leaderboard in the Abolverdi interview. Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia were all mentioned as schools he’s keeping an eye on. Alabama, North Carolina, and Ole Miss are also in the running as well, though they didn’t seem to be on the same level as the first four.
And while all four of those schools would be a great option for a top quarterback, Auburn fans should be feeling particularly excited about Fields. He told Abolverdi that Georgia, Florida, and FSU are recruiting him the hardest, but it doesn’t take a veteran recruiting expert to see that the Tigers have an ace in the hole in Newton. In fact, Fields grew up looking up to Newton at Auburn.
“Growing up when he was at Auburn, he’s kind of who I modeled my game after,” Fields said. “So it’s definitely great learning from him.”
Fields also related that Newton has been a mentor of sorts to him in the recruiting process, which is another bit of good news for Auburn. Of course, the former Tiger would never force Fields to go to Auburn, but you know he has to have great insight into the college and program — and that could give the Tigers a leg up in Fields’ recruitment.
“I honestly do not know where I’m going to go,” Fields said. “Cam tells me just do what’s best for me. All these colleges, they want you to come help them. But really, just find the best fit for you.”
Last but not least, consider the fit for a quarterback like Fields. Of the four schools mentioned above, FSU and Auburn really are the best fits for a dual-threat quarterback, and it’s hard to deny that Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn isn’t a genius when it comes to getting the most out of a talented dual-threat.
Need proof of that? Look no further than Newton.
The Tigers won the national championship in 2010 behind a Heisman campaign from Newton. In that one season, Newton threw for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 1,473 yards and 20 scores on the ground.
His offensive coordinator was none other than Fields’ potential future head coach: Malzahn.