Tim and Jacob Newman never have to look for motivation.
The Newman brothers don’t even have to leave their own house for it, as Tim Jr., 12, and Jacob, 11, have each other for daily competition and inspiration on the football field and basketball court. They also can look to their father, Tim Sr., who once starred on the gridiron for Olympic High (1980-82) before going on to be a two-time All-American running back at Johnson C. Smith University. And he played for the New York Jets, too, during the 1987 season.
Their uncle, Charlie Newman, is always close by for a word of advice as well. He was a standout in the same backfield at Olympic with Tim Sr. before playing wide receiver for coach Mack Brown (now University of Texas head coach) at Appalachian State.
Their sister, Desiree Newman, is a 5-foot-9 sophomore on the Charlotte United Christian girls’ basketball and is also emerging as a player to be reckoned with.
“We both look up to our dad – not only because he has taught us so much about football, but because he has lived it, too,” Tim Newman Jr. said. “He took his game from the bottom, when he started, all the way to the top. If he can do that, we believe we can do it, too.”
Tim Newman Sr. says: “The scary thing is that I think they are even better than Charlie and I were. Both of my boys are blessed to have a lot of god-given talent, and we hope that they can make the most of it – not just in football or basketball, but in life, whatever they do.”
The boys have been playing the sport since they were 4 years old, when they started flag football.
Tim Sr., 49, and Charlie, 50, were once considered one of the best running back tandems in the state. Now the younger two are quickly establishing their own reputations.
Tim Jr., who is in seventh grade, and Jacob, who is in fourth grade, combined to rush for 5,699 and 59 touchdowns this fall, and have run for 15,531 yards and 157 touchdowns in the last four seasons.
Tim Jr. rushed for 2,939 yards and 28 touchdowns for his Porter Ridge Athletic Association Magnet team, averaging 326.6 yards and three touchdowns per game this season. Tim rushed for 365, 378 and 392 yards in different games, posting a season-best of 444 yards against the Weddington Titans.
Tim Jr. has been timed at 4.5-seconds in the 40-yard dash.
“Speed is something you can’t teach, and it’s something both boys were blessed with,” Tim Newman Sr. said. “Speed really does kill, and I think it gives both Tim and Jacob a huge advantage.”
Jacob is equally as impressive, rushing for 2,760 yards and 31 touchdowns for his Porter Ridge Junior peewee squad, to average 280 yards and three scores per contest. Jacob Newman rushed for 307, 329, 353 and 403 yards, and a season-best 443 yards also against the Weddington Titans.
Tim, Jr. likes the style of Minnesota Vikings’ running back, Adrian Peterson, and prefers to run over defenders. Jacob, whose favorite NFL running back is Tennesse Titans’ Chris Johnson, likes to use his speed.
No matter what they are doing, though, both Newman brothers are always cheering for each other.
While many people are quick to praise his boys, Tim Sr. wants them to remain humble.
“We don’t overreact to one good day or one good game, because it’s just one game,” Tim Newman Sr. said. “You can have all the talent in the world, but if you lose your mental edge or if you stop working hard, you won’t live up to your potential.”
Tim also plays point guard for his Sun Valley Middle School team, while Jacob plays the same position on the hardwood for his Queen City Athletic Association Force AAU team.
They both know they have a long way to get where they want to go.
“What continues to motivate me is what God gave me, and I’m not going to take it for granted for a minute,” Jacob Newman said. “Football is what I love to do; it’s the best sport ever. I want to be the best I can be.”