John Newton, who played football at Grambling State, says there were difficult times for his son, a four-star recruit out of Indianapolis who went 5-3 in eight starts in 2009 after Mike Hartline was injured and also started UK’s bowl loss to Pittsburgh to end the 2010 season after Hartline was suspended.
“He is 20 now. Some things that have changed, but I still give my advice whether he wants to take it or not,” John Newton laughed and said. “That comes from my experience with my own dad. He is 85 and I never tell him to shut up. Dad calls him about every day, too
“With young folks you have to give them as much information as you can and they can figure it out from there. We talk just as much. Some things I¿am try to back off. Still there are times he will call and will have things going on and want know to what should I do. It is not always football related. It could be things going on as far as college life. He is doing fine. But I tell all my sons there will be times for them to lean on each other because I will not always be around. I just give as much advice as I can and hope it sticks.”
Something certainly seems to have stuck with the junior because he’s been praised by teammates and coaches for everything from offseason workouts to improved field study to better pocket presence to enhanced leadership.
“His confidence level is sky high. All his balls are on point. He’s throwing like a NFL guy. He really just has to come out here and proven he can play that way every day and he wants to prove that,” wide receiver LaRod King said. “He throws the ball more now than he runs. That’s a good thing. His confidence level is sky rocketed. It is like day and night.
“He has stepped up as a leader so quick. He led me. It’s like, ‘We are going to do this or that.’ There are no options. We came out and did them and got everybody on board. It’s like we are one. It’s not an individual thing. Everything is a team thing with Morgan now.”
Yet even now, his father still warns him not to forget the struggles of the past two years.
“You have got to be humble. Things can change on a dime. You just never know,” John Newton said. “I will peek at blogs and message boards and you certainly realized that is true then. Some people are just waiting for you to fail.”
That’s the kind of advice Morgan Newton says his father has always had — and probably always will.
“My dad has been there since before I¿remember telling me the truth. I have a brother (Langston) going through recruiting now (and has committed to UK) and another little brother that is also be a senior and I get to be a big brother to them,” Morgan Newton said. “My dad is letting me have a part in everything.
“He is always there to kind of give his insight. He said a little more in high school than he does now. He kind of lets me go about making decisions on my own and doing things on my own, which has been awesome. But he has always been there to lean on. He did a great job of raising me and really prepared me to live on my own. But sometimes there are just things that you don’t know that he does know. I will give him a call and say, ‘Hey, how would you handle this situation?’ He’s been great, and I¿don’t expect it to stop.”
That’s part of the maturation process Dr. Newton has seen in his son both on and off the field.