Everyone loves a late bloomer. But then there are those who probably shouldn’t have bloomed at all—the roses that grew from concrete—and their stories go beyond pretty colors.
It wasn’t long ago that Cam Newton was a backup quarterback at Florida, a “childish” and “disconnected from reality” teenager seemingly intent on throwing his gifts away. Everything he valued in life was eventually taken from him. In the words of his father Cecil, it left Newton broken.
Florida had been the only school the Newtons ever considered, and now here was coach Urban Meyer saying he didn’t believe the 19-year-old sophomore had what it took to make it as a quarterback.
“I’m listening like okay,” Cam Newton remembers, “I’m going to make Urban Meyer eat those words one day.”
Fast forward almost five years later and here’s Newton now, with a new identity. He’s been humbled, and done more than just stuff Urban Meyer’s mouth. He’s won the Heisman Trophy. He’s won an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He’s made two Pro Bowls. He’s played in the NFL Playoffs. And he has more individual records than he knows what to do with.
Yet all of that wouldn’t mean anything to the young kids of his 7-on-7 All-Star high school camp if they didn’t know where he came from. In Episode 2 of Under Armour’s “Huddle Up” video series, the NFL’s most exciting quarterback shows that even the biggest stars didn’t always shine the brightest.
Follow the series at UA.com/HuddleUp, and join the conversation on Twitter via #HUDDLEUP.