A group of Newton Rams football players had a strong showing during the Battle MVP Camp held Sunday at Lovejoy High School in Clayton County.
Newton running back Adarius Thomas won the overall MVP award in the camp after performing particularly well in 1v1 drills.
Fellow Rams tailback Nuru Tinch placed in the top three, and wide receivers Tyrese Peacock and Michael Mathison both placed in the top 10 at of over 400 athletes during the camp.
Thomas, a sophomore during the 2016 season, was thrust into more-than-expected playing time, thanks to injuries to Tinch and others who were slated to be heavy contributors to the Rams’ offensive backfield last year.
Thomas ran for 394 yards on 94 carries and a score through 10 regular season games last year for a 6-4-1 Newton squad that made a Class AAAAAAA playoff appearance.
Assistant football coach Josh Skelton said Thomas’ improvement during the offseason is both tangible and measureable.
“Adrian’s gained about 12 pounds since last year, and he also runs a 4.52 (40-yard dash time) now,” Skelton said.
Skelton also noted a particularly play during the camp that showed how Thomas has added a little extra wiggle to his game to complement his increased speed.
“He made a linebacker fall during the one-on-ones which sealed the deal on the MVP trophy,” Skelton said. “It was an outstanding day for him.
As for the other players, Skelton said there’s not much to be disappointed with in terms of how the Newton athletes performed, and have been attacking their offseason workouts and conditioning overall.
“I think for our Newton boys to go out and perform at a highly competitive MVP camp, and all we do is credit to our offseason work that has been taking place,” Skelton said. “Our culture here is ‘always compete,’ so our performance that this camp proved that today.”
Thomas said he sees his success in this camp as one of the first steps to landing his first scholarship offer. He has gotten looks and interest from schools such as South Carolina, Georgia State and UAB.
“I feel like my work there is going to help me improve my catching skills and help me compete with the top athletes in Georgia,” Thomas said. “I mean, I felt like I had dominated the camp and was at the best of my ability, so when they called my name, it was a blessing.”
Skelton said Tinch’s performance was encouraging also, given that he missed much of last season with injury. The 5-foot-11, 212 pound rising Class of ’18 tailback has received offers from Ball State, Troy and UAB and has received interest from the likes of Georgia, Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee.
Tinch played in just six games during his junior season, but rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He showed flashes of his explosiveness by averaging close to six yards per carry in 2016. He won an overall MVP award at the Elite Junior Showcase and MVP Camp.
Meanwhile, Peacock, a rising senior, will be Newton’s leading returning receiver after the graduation of J.J. Holloman and Dante Johnson. Peacock caught almost 20 balls for over 300 yards a six touchdown grabs.
Skelton also said he was impressed with the progress of offensive lineman Remy Naza who holds an offer from Howard. He said expects these and a few other athletes to see their blip on the recruiting radar get larger as the offseason continues.
“I believe the summer will be big for them,” he said. “I think they’ll really start to gain some more attention during that time.”