Sept. 5, 2002
By Jen Luman, Athletic Media Relations Student Assistant
With just a few credit hours and one football season to go before becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college, Jim Newton has his priorities in order.
"I just want to concentrate on what is important right now - school and football - and move on to the next part of my life," Newton said.
Utah State's 6-10, 298-pound senior who has started 23 games in his career as an Aggie, the most of any 2002 USU player, is set to begin his third season as the Aggies' starting left tackle. He wants to enjoy his time in Logan, earn his diploma and have fun on the field in his final season.
As the Aggies face their toughest home schedule in years, Newton, like all Aggie fans, is looking forward to the challenge that comes with hosting in-state competition Utah and BYU and regional rivals New Mexico, Idaho State and New Mexico State. "We are playing some great competition and I just want to have fun with it and not be as wound up as I was in past seasons," he said.
Offensive line coach Jeff Hoover agrees that in the past Newton was a little overly intense at times.
"Jim and I have a pretty interesting relationship," Hoover explained. "My first year coaching (at USU) we had a disagreement at Boise State and some of the guys had to step in, but ever since then I think we have communicated on a much better level. He has really grown up since then and he is one of our hardest working guys."
Newton plans for that now-controlled intensity to carry over into tonight's game with Utah, one he's looking forward to. "I am very excited about the game," he said early in the week. "I have yet to beat them while I have been playing so this is my chance to start my senior season right."
According to Newton, "It seems like every time we've played them, we've shot ourselves in the foot. I think this year we can avoid things we did in the past."
Newton, who at 6-10 is the tallest player in Utah State history, has an outgoing personality that matches his stature and has made him the unofficial spokesman for the offensive line. Offensive center Aric Galliano credits Newton with earning the offensive line some recognition that they sometimes don't get.
Teammate Luis Trujillo said Newton is a strong leader for the offensive line. "He leads by example," Trujillo said. "He's a character in the Jim-Newton way. He's a great guy, and really keeps the line together."
Off the field, Newton describes himself as a pretty boring person. "I just kind of relax. I have been here forever so it is kind of like 'been there, done that' for me."
The newly-married offensive tackle smiles as he talks about where he will go after graduation. "My wife Lori and stepson Streicher live in Idaho Falls, so right now I only see them on the weekends," Newton said. "After graduation I plan to move to Idaho where Lori already has a good job and do something with law enforcement, maybe a sheriff or a detective or something."
Coach Hoover touts Newton as "a pretty independent guy, but he has accomplished a lot in the past few months." Hoover said besides Newton's recent marriage, he also produced the best grade point average of his college career last spring semester.
"From some bumpy beginnings we are really glad he is here and we are really looking for big things from him this year," Hoover said.
Jim Newton is looking for the same.
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