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SIGNING DAY: Alcovy's Eric Johnson becomes fifth local prospect to sign with upstart prep school
Eric Johnson
Alcovy's Eric Johnson signs his letter of intent to Georgia Knights Prep Academy with a smile during Wednesday's National Signing Day ceremony at Alcovy. -photo by Tyler Williams

COVINGTON, Ga. — The Georgia Knights Prep Sports Academy may be a fairly new program that is just getting off the ground, but it didn’t take long for it to start finding out what residents of Covington, Georgia already know: There is underrated talent on this side of the metro Atlanta area. 

The prep school also realized that they have a shot at snagging some incredible ball players for the next two years to help them prepare for potentially moving on to a bigger college in the future. 

With that realization and knowledge, the talent purge began. 

At the end of signing day, not only did they come away with three incredible players from Eastside High School in Hunter Williams, Tomarkus Woods and Antavious Cobb, but they also took Alex Jackson from Newton and Eric Johnson from Alcovy to round out their class with five total Newton County guys from all three schools. 

On Wednesday’s National Signing Day ceremony at Alcovy — the first of two that will take place at the school over the next seven days — Johnson, like the others, said he’s sold on the prep school route and ready to move on from the recruiting process.

AS a transfer from Rockdale, it was tough for him to get adjusted to his final year of high school playing football for a completely new program, but he feels like the effort has paid off. 

“It’s been a long time coming,” he said. “It took a whole lot of dedication and hard work. I had to start all the way over when I came to Alcovy, so I had to put all that work back in, but Coach Edgar gave me a chance, they believed in me, and I did what I had to do.”

Like Johnson, Jackson was also a transfer, but his story took a bit of a turn. 

He originally had gone to Newton High school but transferred to North Clayton for various reasons. He ended up back at Newton for his senior year but was not eligible to play until midway through the season.

“Just to be here with the guys I grew up with for my senior year, even though we didn’t have the season we hoped for, was amazing,” he said. 

As a defensive lineman who will likely move to linebacker and become one of the Knights defensive captains, Jackson will join three Eastside defensive linemen and one defensive back, which to him, made everything feel more comforting. 

“It really changed my mindset knowing I played against those guys,” he said. “I know how they play, and they know how I play. I know Woods is going to go all out, and for Antavious, they don’t call him Smoke for no reason. We’re going to make the season big.”

Although Johnson is joining the team looking to make his mark on offense, joining some in-county guys is comforting to him as well. 

“I talked to some of the guys from Eastside before I even signed there, and we’re all excited about it,” he said. 

Once he steps onto the field for the first time, Johnson wants to quickly establish himself as a team leader.

“I have to lead by example,” Johnson said. “I can’t sit here and mess up and expect nobody else to do the same. Everyone is going to look up to me. Even though I will be the youngest on the team, I am still held to that standard.”

Johnson, along with Alcovy quarterback Nick Simmons, is part of the first wave of Alcovy football signees for the Class of 2019. At least two others — Bryson Wilcox (Stetson) and Jalen Banks (undecided) will be signing national letters of intent on Tuesday February 12 at Alcovy.