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Man on the Street: Is there someone from Newton County that could play in the NFL one day?
James Lathem

With the Falcons making it to the Big Game, The Covington News decided it was time to talk football. All the athletic talent in Newton County makes one wonder: If there are future NFL stars among us, who do you think it could be?

James Lathem: “Shaquille Huff…he was a defensive end I’m pretty sure.” 

Huff graduated from Eastside in 2012 and went on to play as a defensive tackle at Middle Tennessee State University.  He is now preparing for an NFL Pro Day which gives college players a chance to perform on their campus for NFL scouts. 

 Samuel Buckner: “They’ve got some very good athletes that come out of Newton County.  I for one, helped raise them so I know we got some good athletes here.”  Buckner noted that attitude and grades were also very important in athletes advancing their careers toward getting to the Super Bowl. “You know, if they got the right parenting, I think anything is possible.”  When asked where he would be watching the Super Bowl, Buckner happily replied that it will be on the screen of his 70-inch television.    

Beau Baxter: “My friend, Jomandi Smith, who graduated Eastside class of 2014...I remember he got all the medals.” 

Smith played running back while he was at Eastside and has an impressive highlight reel on YouTube that shows him blasting past defensive lines.  Smith currently attends Fort Valley State University and is expected to graduate in 2018.

David Hart: “I’d have to say it would be J.J. Holloman.”

Holloman, part of Newton High School’s class of 2017, has signed on with the University of Georgia.  Holloman is described by Jake Rowe in an article posted on as an athlete that “is big, explosive and extremely gifted” with “a world of potential.”