For any athlete, it's always nice to see where you stack up among a larger group of talent. Our sports staff had a hunch that, despite Newton County's relatively small size, there is some football talent that ranks fairly high among the bevy of high profile gridiron potential littered across this state.
So we've taken some time to scour the national recruiting rankings, just to get a glimpse of how some of the so-called experts are placing some of our most college football-ready athletes.
The following is a list of the four Newton County players whom 247Sports.com has ranked among the state's top 150 prospects. We'll keep tracking this list to see how it shifts or expands as the summer progresses and the season begins.
One thing to consider about recruiting rankings -- other than the fact that they are largely unscientific -- is that often, a players star ranking (one to five stars) is determined not just by observation of talent, but also the number of offers and type of offers an athlete gets. For instance, if an athlete has two-star ranking with several mid-major or FCS offers, but then starts getting attention from NCAA Division I/Power Five schools, then that star ranking will jump drastically.
Of course, coaches will tell you that these rankings don't do an accurate job of depicting the heart and upside of a player. But we still think it's a fun discussion point to show where our kids land among Georgia's elite.
So without further ado, here are the highest ranked Newton County football recruits in Georgia:
1. Darnell Jefferies (Ranked No. 37 in Georgia) — 25 offers including Clemson, Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech. (6-3, 275 pound 3-star). Jefferies will benefit from being "the guy" on Newton's defensive line, particularly, as he moves into his senior season.
2. Elija Godwin (Ranked No. 75 in Georgia) — 7 offers including Ball State, Central Michigan, Citadel, Miami-Ohio and Virginia. (6-0, 190 pound 3-star). Godwin is a track state champion, but he's not just track speed fast on the football field. Division I schools are starting to take note of the safety's football IQ and nose for the ball on defense.
3. Lamarius Benson (Ranked No. 92 in Georgia) — Committed to South Carolina. (6-3, 330 pound DT. 3-star). Benson stated that he has not backed down from his commitment to South Carolina, despite other schools and recruiting coaches still doing their best to woo him away. Benson should have a huge year as the focal point of both Eastside's defensive and offensive lines.
4. Nuru Tinch (Ranked No. 148 in Georgia) — Eight offers (5-11, 202 pound 2-star RB). — Offers from Ball State, Central Michigan, Troy and UAB. Interest from Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee. If this young man stays healthy, watch his star rise. Tinch is back from injury, and he shows a lot of the tools that people look for in big time college running backs.