FOXBORO, Mass. — Long before Mac Jones beat out Cam Newton for the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback job, he scored a win over Newton in a different setting.
Recently acquired Patriots cornerback Shaun Wade revealed Thursday that he and Jones played on the same Jacksonville-based 7-on-7 team back in high school — and that their 10th-grade team beat one coached by Newton.
“Me and Mac Jones actually played 7-on-7 together when we were younger in high school,” Wade recalled in his first news conference since joining the Patriots in late August. “So we already knew each other. I knew his parents; his parents knew my parents. He went to Bolles; I went to Trinity. Those are the top two schools in Jacksonville. So me and Mac Jones already were close. We already have a connection. …
“Mac is the same Mac as he is today. I feel like 7-on-7, playing with us, he got that grit and just how he acts right now. I feel like that came from 7-on-7 playing with us. Mac’s the same person. We used to play Cam Newton’s team. I remember Mac talking junk. I think he threw a winning touchdown in that game.”
That win, Wade said, came during a tournament at Florida’s IMG Academy.
“It was hot,” he continued. “Nationals. We actually lost the first game going into bracket play, so we kept on playing repetitively. We played probably, like, 11 games that day and made it all the way to the final four. It was crazy. We had a great team. We had a lot of players that’s either in the league or in college right now doing good things.”
Wade said he reminded Newton about his and Jones’ victory upon his arrival to New England. (He was traded from the Baltimore Ravens late in the preseason.)
“I did,” he said, smiling. “I told him.”
Newton’s 7-on-7 squad is an institution in Georgia, with a list of NFL-bound alumni that includes current Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers.
As for Jones, Wade said he’s always been impressed by the Patriots first-round draft pick, who didn’t become a full-time starter until his final season at Alabama. Jones shredded Wade’s Ohio State defense in last year’s national championship game, throwing for 464 yards and five touchdowns in a 52-24 Crimson Tide rout.
“Mac’s always been the same person,” Wade said. “A lot of people doubted him when he was younger, saying, ‘Do not go to Bama.’ But you see what he did. He’s one of the best, I feel like, to come out of Bama, in my opinion. I always believed in Mac.”
Wade, a fifth-round pick of the Ravens earlier this year, has yet to make his regular-season Patriots debut. He was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s season-opening loss to the Miami Dolphins.