Athlete Look Back: Cam Newton's fun-loving style started in high school

Athlete Look Back: Cam Newton's fun-loving style started in high school

Athlete Look Back

Athlete Look Back: Cam Newton's fun-loving style started in high school

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) dabs during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.(Photo: Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) dabs during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.(Photo: Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports)

Before Michael Jordan was making Bryon Russell fall with a killer crossover and draining the go ahead jumper to win his sixth NBA title with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan was a skinny, determined athlete dominating the competition at Laney High (Wilmington, N.C.).

Before Adrian Peterson was trucking opposing defenses and racking up 2,097 yards in a single season for the Minnesota Vikings he was shining bright under the Friday night lights at Palestine High (Palestine, Texas), averaging 12 yards a carry and scoring 32 touchdowns.

Before any athlete can become legendary they have to lay their foundation in the high school ranks.

Each week I’ll chat with a high-profile athlete’s former coach, mentor, family member, etc., and reminisce about their high school playing days; everything from the greatest moment to the wackiest story.

This week I caught up with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s high school coach at Westlake (Atlanta) Dallas Allen.

Newton completed 19 of 26 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers 42-15 romping of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Sunday. 

Jason Jordan: What’s your best memory of Cam on the field?

Dallas Allen: It’s probably the game when Cam didn’t play in the first half then came back in the second half and put 51 points on the board. Also, one time we played Statesboro High School and they’d been undefeated for three years at home and we went in there and Cam dominated them. There were so many memorable moments with Cam on the field. I could come up with stuff all day!

JJ: What’s your best memory of Cam off the field?

DA: His pranks! He loved to play tricks on people. His best one was probably his water balloon prank on senior day. All the seniors threw water balloons at the underclassmen and Cam loved that. He definitely hit the kids he targeted too! Cam was just a happy-go-lucky kid. I can’t remember a time in four years where Cam was a problem. He just likes to have fun.

RELATED: A look back at RG3 in HS

JJ: What was Cam’s leadership style back then?

DA: Cam was always in command and he demanded that people did what they were supposed to do and he’d hold you accountable. He’d get right in your grill and yell at you! The thing that I thought was great was that he knew how to build them up after he got on them. He’d let you know if you blew it, but he’d let you know if you got it right too. Everybody loved him for that.

JJ: What’s the craziest thing you recall from his recruitment?

DA: Oh that’s easy; only three programs recruited Cam as quarterback, other programs recruited him as a tight end or a defensive end. Seriously! But he had his mind made up that he was going to be a quarterback and he never entertained schools that wanted him to play another position.

JJ: Have coaches since come back to you and admit that they got it wrong?

DA: (Laughs) Oh yeah!

JJ: What’s the biggest misconception people have about Cam in your eyes?

DA: Cam is a winner and he hates to lose; and I know that’s something that people say about stars, but he really, really hates to lose. A lot of times when you see him on TV with the towel over his head it’s not that he’s being defiant or that he’s got a bad attitude it’s simply that he hates losing. He hates losing more than he loves winning. He’s really his own worst critic. So he’s over there getting on himself and thinking about what he could’ve done better and how he’ll do it better next time. He’s not pouting. He’s just a perfectionist. Also, people don’t know how intelligent he is. Cam came from a home where A’s and B’s were the standard. If you’re around him, even for a little while, he’s one of those guys you can tell is really smart.

JJ: When did you know Cam would be, not only a pro, but a special pro?

DA: Probably his junior year. You look at Cam throw a deep route then look at a pro throwing a deep route there wasn’t much difference back then. And he did it consistently. He’s a rare talent.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs on the field after the NFC Championship Game against the Arizona Cardinals.(Photo: Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs on the field after the NFC Championship Game against the Arizona Cardinals.(Photo: Jason Getz, USA TODAY Sports)

JJ: What’s something people would be shocked to know about Cam?

DA: I don’t know if they’d be shocked but they may not know how much Cam loves kids. He’d always flock to kids back when I had him and they just loved him too. He just something in him that kids love to be around him and he genuinely cares for them. I think that’s why his foundation is doing so well right now.

JJ: Is Cam Newton a Hall of Fame quarterback?

DA: I’m sure he will be. You’ve got a lot of new quarterbacks that come into the league and most of them need time to learn the system and adjust, but Cam came in from day one and picked it up right away. He wasn’t perfect, but it’s obvious that he’s special. I think he’ll continue to get better every year and seeing where he started, breaking records and things like that, it’s not crazy to think he’ll be a Hall of Famer.

Here’s how Cam Newton got it done in HS.

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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