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Josh Skelton’s passion for Newton Rams football ‘non stop’
New Newton Rams football coach Josh Skelton, top row right, stands with former coach Camiel Grant, Jr. along with a group of Early Period National Signing Day signees in December. - photo by Special Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — When Josh Skelton first arrived in Newton County, he was a fresh-out-of-college, 23-year old just starting his coaching profession. He was hired to be the defensive backs coach as well as recruiting coordinator. 

Eleven short years later, Skelton now finds himself at the helm of the Rams’ football program. 

Skelton’s rise to the top is the product of his hard work. 

“This is a win for all the guys who play their role to the best of their ability,” Skelton said. “Whatever my role has been, I’ve tried to be the best at it. As head coach, nothing is different in terms of the mentality. We’re going to try to be the best at it.” 

As defensive backs coach, Skelton helped groom numerous high profile athletes. 

Current NFL players like Tay Gowan (Philadelphia Eagles) and Jacobi Francis (Houston Texans) are benefactors of Skelton’s coaching. Then, there’s Nyland Green who is part of the back-to-back national champion Georgia Bulldogs’ roster along with Audavion Collins at Mississippi State. 

Skelton’s work as recruiting coordinator surpasses the defensive backs room. 

That was on display at Newton’s Early National Signing Day on Dec. 21, 2022. 

Three-star players Justin Benton, Tristan Thompkins, Olan Robinson and Anthony Bynum each signed Division I athletic scholarships. In addition to those signings, Skelton played a pivotal part in Diondre Glover and Keyshawn Blackstock’s transfers to Gardner-Webb and Michigan State, respectively. 

Skelton has taken great pride in assisting high school athletes make it to the next level and beyond. 

“I took getting our kids recruited personally,” Skelton said. “And I’ll continue to do anything I can to give them an opportunity to play after high school.”

Last summer, Skelton was promoted to defensive coordinator following Spencer Fortson’s departure to become Alcovy’s head football coach. 

Newton’s reputation for the “Blue Swarm” defense hardly missed a beat with Skelton leading the unit. 

The Rams averaged 21 points surrendered in 2022 (2021’s average was 17 points), which also featured four games where they held their opponents to 14 points or fewer. 

Now, Skelton will no longer just be leading one group or unit, but the entire football program. 

Athletic director Vincent Byams mentioned how whatever success the Rams achieve in the future will be made easier with the community’s help.

“He has a great vision for the program,” Byams said. “And what he’s going to need is that support, not only on the inside with the leadership here, but he’s going to need the alumni and financial support. We believe we have a coach that’s going to get us there,  but he’s going to need that support to help us get over the hump.” 

The first thing Skelton has to tackle is spring practice, then summer practice and, before too long, the start of the 2023 season will be back around. 

Nevertheless, Skelton is excited about what this next chapter of his career holds. 

“In front of the panel, I wanted to speak my passion,” Skelton said. “I wanted to show the board and the panel that this isn’t a job for me, it’s my passion. I’m a seven day a week guy and I non-stop think about these guys and the community. 

“I feel like I’ve done a lot for the Newton community and I feel like this is the next step for me to do more.”