MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft after leading Auburn to a national title and drawing nearly as much attention for a pay-for-play scandal.
Auburn announced the quarterback's decision in a statement Thursday, three days after he led the Tigers to their first national title since 1957 and a 14-0 season with a 22-19 win over Oregon.
"It's been a blessing for me to be a part of something so great," Newton said, adding that coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn were involved in his decision. " … Auburn is a special place that I can call home."
The former backup to Tim Tebow at Florida arrived after leading Blinn College in Texas to a junior college national title.
"He had one of the greatest individual seasons ever by an Auburn player and was a key part of our championship run," Chizik said.
Newton played under a cloud the past two months after reports surfaced that his father shopped his services to Mississippi State during his recruitment. Auburn declared Newton ineligible, and the NCAA reinstated him a day later. The NCAA said it hasn't closed the case but that it had no evidence at the time that Newton knew about his father's efforts.
Staying, going: LSU running back Stevan Ridley and Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb announced they are leaving school early to enter the draft. Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who some experts say could be the No. 1 pick overall, will announce his plans today.
'Canes hire play-caller
Seattle Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch was hired as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Miami, new Hurricanes coach Al Golden announced.
Fisch, 34, will remain with the Seahawks for the remainder of their playoff run. A Florida grad who worked under then-Gators coach Steve Spurrier as a graduate assistant, Fisch spent nine of the past 10 years working in the NFL (Houston, Baltimore and Denver) and one season as offensive coordinator at the University of Minnesota.
UConn hires Pasqualoni: Former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni, 61, is heading back to the Big East, replacing Randy Edsall as coach at Connecticut. Pasqualoni, who had been the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator, was 107-59-1 in 14 seasons with the Orange. UConn selected him over former Hurricanes offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.
Stanford Tabs assistant: David Shaw, the offensive coordinator on former coach Jim Harbaugh's staff, was named the Cardinal's new coach. Shaw, 38, got the spot over fellow assistants Greg Roman and Vic Fangio after Harbaugh left to become coach of the NFL's 49ers.
Michigan: Quarterback Denard Robinson told coach Brady Hoke he will stay in Ann Arbor. Many believed Robinson would transfer after Rich Rodriguez's firing.