New­ton foot­ball play­ers star in off­sea­son camps

The Covington News - - SPORTS - GABRIEL STO­VALL gsto­vall@cov­news.com

As off­sea­son win­ter con­di­tion­ing starts to give way to spring foot­ball and sum­mer 7-on-7s, a pair of New­ton Ram run­ning backs are show­ing that they’re quickly get­ting into 2017 shape.

New­ton run­ning back Adar­ius Thomas won the over­all MVP award two weeks ago at The Bat­tle off­sea­son camp af­ter per­form­ing par­tic­u­larly well in 1v1 drills.

Fel­low Rams tail­back Nuru Tinch placed in the top three, and wide re­ceivers Tyrese Peacock and Michael Mathi­son both placed in the top 10 at of over 400 ath­letes dur­ing the camp.

Thomas, a sopho­more dur­ing the 2016 sea­son, was thrust into more-than-ex­pected play­ing time, thanks to in­juries to Tinch and oth­ers who were slated to be heavy contributors to the Rams’ of­fen­sive back­field last year.

Thomas ran for 394 yards on 94 car­ries and a score through 10 reg­u­lar sea­son games last year for a 6-4-1 New­ton squad that made a Class AAAAAAA play­off ap­pear­ance.

As­sis­tant foot­ball coach Josh Skel­ton said Thomas’ im­prove­ment dur­ing the off­sea­son is both tan­gi­ble and mea­sure­able.

“Adrian’s gained about 12 pounds since last year, and he also runs a 4.52 (40-yard dash time) now,” Skel­ton said.

Skel­ton also noted a par­tic­u­larly play dur­ing the camp that showed how Thomas has added a lit­tle ex­tra wig­gle to his game to com­ple­ment his in­creased speed.

“He made a line­backer fall dur­ing the one-on-ones which sealed the deal on the MVP tro­phy,” Skel­ton said. “It was an out­stand­ing day for him.

As for the other play­ers, Skel­ton said there’s not much to be dis­ap­pointed with in terms of how the New­ton ath­letes per­formed, and have been at­tack­ing their off­sea­son work­outs and con­di­tion­ing over­all.

“I think for our New­ton boys to go out and per­form at a highly com­pet­i­tive MVP camp, and all we do is credit to our off­sea­son work that has been tak­ing place,” Skel­ton said. “Our cul­ture here is ‘al­ways com­pete,’ so our per­for­mance that this camp proved that to­day.”

Thomas said he sees his suc­cess in this camp as one of the first steps to land­ing his first schol­ar­ship of­fer. He has got­ten looks and in­ter­est from schools such as South Carolina, Ge­or­gia State and UAB.

“I feel like my work there is go­ing to help me im­prove my catch­ing skills and help me com­pete with the top ath­letes in Ge­or­gia,” Thomas said. “I mean, I felt like I had dom­i­nated the camp and was at the best of my abil­ity, so when they called my name, it was a bless­ing.”

Skel­ton said Tinch’s per­for­mance was en­cour­ag­ing also, given that he missed much of last sea­son with in­jury. The 5-foot11, 212 pound ris­ing Class of ’18 tail­back has re­ceived of­fers from Ball State, Troy and UAB and has re­ceived in­ter­est from the likes of Ge­or­gia, Alabama, Auburn and Ten­nessee.

Tinch played in just six games dur­ing his ju­nior sea­son, but rushed for 214 yards and two touch­downs. He showed flashes of his ex­plo­sive­ness by av­er­ag­ing close to six yards per carry in 2016. He won an over­all MVP award at the Elite Ju­nior Show­case and MVP Camp.

Mean­while, Peacock, a ris­ing se­nior, will be New­ton’s lead­ing re­turn­ing re­ceiver af­ter the grad­u­a­tion of J.J. Hol­lo­man and Dante John­son. Peacock caught al­most 20 balls for over 300 yards a six touch­down grabs.

Skel­ton also said he was im­pressed with the progress of of­fen­sive line­man Remy Naza who holds an of­fer from Howard. He said ex­pects these and a few other ath­letes to see their blip on the re­cruit­ing radar get larger as the off­sea­son con­tin­ues.

“I be­lieve the sum­mer will be big for them,” he said. “I think they’ll re­ally start to gain some more at­ten­tion dur­ing that time.”

Sub­mit­ted photo | The Cov­ing­ton News

New­ton run­ning backs Nuru Tinch, left, and Adar­ius Thomas have both grabbed over­all MVP awards at off­sea­son camps. Thomas was re­cently named over­all MVP at the Bat­tle MVP Camp in Love­joy.

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