Last season veteran Head Coach Robby Pruitt guided his Douglas (Ga.) Coffee football squad to the state quarterfinals, a feat that had been accomplished only one other time in the last 34 years. Though only a three seed out of Region 1-AAAAAA, the Trojans were able to capture road victories at Conyers Heritage and Alexander before falling to Dalton 30-28.
One of the key members for the Trojans during that playoff run was junior defensive end Derick Newton. In that three game span the pass rushing terror racked up an amazing 41 tackles, 14 TFL’s and ten sacks. On the season Newton finished with 107 total tackles, 36 TFL’s and 26 QBH’s while leading the entire state of Georgia in sacks with 23.
“As a player Derick is relentless, he is one of those guys that possess just one speed – 100 mph,” Pruitt said. “He is a smart football player that I wouldn’t trade for any other athlete in Region 1-AAAAAA. Derick has massive hands and plays reckless.”
The sack-master recently picked up his first two offers, Georgia Southern and Georgia State. But those aren’t the only schools showing early interest in the gridiron monster as Georgia Tech and Western Kentucky have kept in constant contact. Three schools Newton would like to hear more from are Clemson, Florida State and Miami.
At 6-foot-1, 268-pounds, colleges may be struggling with what position to project him at. The schools listed above that have shown interest or offered the young man as a hybrid SDE/DT. Regardless of the position, Newton has proven to be a quarterback’s worst nightmare between the lines.
To date, the only unofficial visits Newton has been able to make are Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State. He has also been fairly quiet on the camp front having only attended the NUC Albany Camp in early March where he took home DL MVP honors.
He has mapped out a busy college one-day camp circuit with intentions of going to Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Valdosta State’s camp in conjunction with Michigan. One of the reasons he was unable hit many early offseason camps was his prowess on the mats. Newton finished third at the GHSA-AAAAAA Wrestling State Championships.
Currently, Newton has a 2.78 GPA and has a composite score of 940 on the SAT. He also claims that distance is not a factor when making a decision on where he will attend college.
“Derick is a very personable kid, he has been that way his whole life,” Pruitt said, “He has gone through some growing pains, but it has never affected his demeanor. I was fortunate enough to have coached 12-year NFL veteran defensive lineman Gerard Warren in high school. Derick is every bit as athletic, if not more athletic, just a couple inches shorter.”
College recruiters may want to heed the words of Coach Pruitt. In his five years in Douglas, Georgia he has coached Wyatt Miller (OL-UCF), Cole Minshew (OL-FSU), Maverick Morris (OL-Clemson) and Jalen Wilkerson (DE-FSU). Yes, Douglas is slightly isolated from the big city lights of Hotlanta, but South Georgia has produced some of the greatest football players the state has ever known.
So what does Mr. Newton and the Coffee Trojans need to improve upon to surpass their success from last year? This is no easy question to answer considering the Region of Doom (1-AAAAAA) may be the most competitive region in the Peach State regardless of classification. With only five teams, one will be left out. Just ask Warner Robins Houston County how it felt to go (7-3) and stay at home watching inferior teams make the playoffs.
“I have to continue to be a better leader,” Newton said. “I not only have to hold myself accountable, but hold my teammates accountable. We play in a region that is loaded with DI prospects, and of course Valdosta (Ga.) a school that has won over 20 State Championships including this past season.”
College coaches may want to find their way south of the gnat-line May, 12 as the Trojans host Quitman (Ga.) Brooks County at 7:30 pm for their spring game. They may be surprised to find out that Newton will not only line up at multiple positions along the defensive line, but also as an H-Back for Coffee.
article submitted by site contributor Barry Every – follow him Twitter @BVEvery