By now, you may have heard of Cam Newton.
You may have also heard of Zach Mettenberger.
And if you’ve heard of both you probably already know they have a lot in common. So much so that I thought I’d break it down right here.
I’ll start from the simple and work my way up to the (slightly) more complex:
1. They’re both football prodigies from the state of Georgia
Newton went to Westlake High School outside of Atlanta before heading to Florida. Mettenberger went to Oconee County High School, right outside of Athens. They both were among the top prep quarterbacks in the country – Newton in 2006-2007 and Mettenberger in 2007-2008.
2. They both were groomed to be starters at SEC schools
Newton was the heir apparent to Tim Tebow for the Gators. Mettenberger the same with Matthew Stafford and Joe Cox for the Bulldogs. And you can make an argument that both schools’ recent slides have come as a direct result of losing these two, both of whom would have likely been 3-year starters.
3. They both had to leave SEC schools because of problems with the law
Newton, famously, bought a stolen laptop and pitched it out the window of his dorm room while at Florida. He had the charges dropped after completing a pre-trial diversion program. But it was enough for him to have to leave school.Mettenberger ended up pleading guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery stemming from a March 7 incident in a bar in Remerton, Ga., that led to Mark Richt dismissing him from the team. Mettenberger received 2 years of probation, community service and he had to pay $2,000 in fines.
4. They both got their second chances at junior colleges
Newton found salvation at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, under the guidance of Brad Franchione, one of the best junior-college coaches in the nation and the son of Dennis Franchione. Mettenberger found his reprieve at Butler Community College in El Dorado, the top JuCo program in the country.
5. They both made the most of their second chance
Newton capped his one season at Blinn with a national title, beating Fort Scott in last year’s Citizens Bank Bowl at Pittsburg, the same bowl Mettenberger will try to win a national title in on Sunday. Mettenberger is the favorite to win NJCAA offensive player of the year honors – he’s already been named the Jayhawk offensive MVP – and has thrown for 2,512 yards, 31 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
6. The SEC came calling, again
Newton has led Auburn to an undefeated season and within a game of the BCS title. And he is also the front-runner for the Heisman. Mettenberger is a wanted man by by both LSU and Alabama – both schools that need a legit starting QB. A&M was in the mix, but you have to think with the emergence of Ryan Tannehill and the fact that Mettenberger will have 3 years of eligibility left that the Aggies are out.
So those are the similarities. You might know some more – like they’re both almost the same size (Newton is 6-foot-6, 250 pounds and Mettenberger is 6-6 and about 240). Here’s one last thing to consider: They’re as different as two quarterbacks can be on the field, aside from that they win all the time. Newton is the ultimate dual-threat QB, and can run the ball as well as he throws it. Mettenberger is a pro-style, dropback passer all the way. You get him on your team you’re going to have games where he can win it with just his arm.