Nate Newton knows what it takes to make it to the NFL from an HBCU.
The former Dallas Cowboy great provided perspective on playing pro football in a recent interview with Thee PreGame Show during their live coverage of Deion Sanders’ inaugural satellite camp at Jackson State last week.
“This is an exciting day,” Newton said. “The things that Jackson State and Deion Sanders are doing, helping the youth get out here so they can show their abilities.”
Nate Newton: Kids have to be dedicated
Newton also offered his thoughts on the current dynamics of the transfer portal.
“Kids have to be more dedicated than ever,” he said. “Each college used to average 25 scholarships to just high school students every year. Now, with the transfer portal, you will lose anywhere from 12-15 scholarships from guys moving around every year, that’s only leaving 10-12 scholarships for high school students each year.”
Newton said grades are now more important than ever.
“They’re not only fighting for scholarships from their high school peers, but from college transfers as well,” he said.
Prepping for the Pros
Newton described his development at Florida A&M and how he became an All-Pro NFL Guard.
“At Florida A&M we didn’t run multiple offenses and defenses like they do in the pros,” he said. “But what I did have was a competitive spirit.”
Newton said it was not that he did not have the aptitude to learn the playbook as fast as players at Power Five schools, but he simply did not have the experiences of seeing more complex offenses and defenses.
He said that is the advantage Deion Sanders has in preparing his Jackson State players.
“What Deion has is the ability to give you the experience of what the next level will be like if you have the talent,” Newton said.
Newton also said the mental part of the game separates the greats from average players. Newton considered himself average until Charles Haley invited him to work after practice to improve his game and stamina. He said it was his daily battles and workouts with Haley that made him a five-time Pro Bowler.
Check out Thee PreGame Show’s full interview with Nate Newton here: