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Freshman Deron Benson becomes starting QB for Newton Rams football
Deron Benson (19) is the Rams' starting quarterback as a freshman. - photo by Garrett Pitts

COVINGTON, Ga. — It is not often that a freshman earns a starting role for a Georgia Class AAAAAAA football program. It is even more rare that a freshman be named the starting quarterback. 

Freshman gunslinger Deron Benson has defied all odds and was named the starting quarterback for the Newton Rams. 

Head coach Camiel Grant Jr., noticed that Benson entered his freshman campaign already with a lot of the tools necessary to claim the position. 

“When he first arrived here in the spring, I think all of us looked at each other and said, ‘This kid is pretty advanced,’” Grant said. “We’ve been aware of what type of football player he could potentially be since day one.” 

Benson was handed the reins of Newton's offense at halftime of its matchup against Grayson on Sept. 29. 

Since first being promoted to the starting role, it seems Benson has provided a spark for the Rams' offense. 

At the time of his promotion, Newton was amid a stretch of six consecutive scoreless quarters. However, with Benson under center, it scored 23 points in a near-come-from-behind win against Brookwood and 20 in last week's win at Parkview in back-to-back weeks. 

Newton is 1-1 with Benson as the starter, too. In both outings, the freshman has completed nearly 70% of his passes for 250 yards. That’s not including his second half start against McEachern on Sept. 9 when he tossed two touchdowns to Marcus Calwise to bring the Rams within 10 points after trailing 23-7. 

The 6-foot-1 signal caller is just enjoying the experience, though. 

“I was kind of nervous coming in and playing the second half [against McEachern],” Benson said. “After the first drive, I got all the jitters out and got used to the game and the speed.” 

After completing a full half as the starter, Benson has since calmed down in the pocket. 

He said that it’s all about the team for him. 

“I just have to calm down and listen to what the coaches say and make the right reads.” Benson said. “I was really nervous at first, but I just got to lock in and be ready. I don’t want to disappoint my team. I got to go play my game.” 

Benson might be a newcomer to the Rams’ football squad, but he’s no stranger to football. 

He’s played the game since his childhood days. He began playing as a wide receiver, but jumped over to quarterback at nine years old. At the time he started playing football, he also was playing basketball. 

That quickly changed. 

“Football is my favorite sport,” Benson said. “I moved to quarterback at around 9-10 years old and have been playing the position since then. Then I decided to pursue football only from there and have loved playing.” 

After he wrapped up his childhood playing days, Benson began playing football as a member of the Liberty Middle School Knights. While playing there, Benson helped lead Liberty to a NewRock Championship. 

But more importantly, Benson credits the basics he’s learned to the Knights’ coaching staff. 

“The coaches there taught me how to read coverages and how to get the ball out fast,” Benson said. 

Newton coaches have just added to his playing knowledge. 

“They help me get better with all my technique skills,” Benson said. “They’re getting me stronger and bigger to compete for the next four years.” 

Throughout his young football career, though, one thing has been at the forefront of Benson’s mind: Playing for the Newton Rams. 

Now that he is the starting quarterback, it’s a dream come true. 

“I’ve been looking up to Newton since I was like 7 or 8 years old,” Benson said. “Now I look out and I’m playing the game and dressing out for varsity as a freshman. I’m really proud of myself, because it was surreal.”