<
>

Auburn, Mississippi State wooing Newton

Auburn and Mississippi State could be fighting it out for former Florida quarterback Cameron Newton, who plans to sign somewhere next week and will enroll in January. He’s scheduled to visit Auburn this weekend.

Louisville is also in the hunt, thanks in large part to the Charlie Strong connection.

Newton led Blinn College to the junior college national championship this season. He threw for more than 2,800 yards and 22 touchdowns and also rushed for 655 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was dismissed from the Florida team after being arrested and charged with stealing another student’s laptop computer.

Newton recently completed a pretrial intervention program and has stayed out of trouble during his probation.

He would be a good fit at either Auburn or Mississippi State, both of whom run versions of the spread offense.

With Tyrik Rollison suspended indefinitely, the quarterback situation at Auburn is more wide open than ever next season with senior Chris Todd departing.

There’s no clear-cut guy at Mississippi State, either. Chris Relf returns, although he was most effective as a runner this season. The Bulldogs redshirted freshman Tyler Russell.

Mississippi State has already addressed two positions of need with junior college players.

Defensive tackle James Carmon and running back Vick Ballard, both of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, signed with the Bulldogs on Wednesday, the first day junior college players were allowed to sign.

The 6-6, 360-pound Carmon will be one of the biggest players in the SEC and gives Mississippi State some much needed size in its defensive line. With Anthony Dixon and Christian Ducre both departing, Ballard will get a chance this spring to show what he can do in the Bulldogs’ backfield.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said he likes the 5-11, 205-pound Ballard’s pass-catching ability and his versatility.