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Newton hires DJ Hill as new defensive coordinator among other coaching additions
DJ Hill
Prior to being hired as the Rams' new defensive coordinator, Hill coached for the Stockbridge Tigers, who made it the Class AAAA championship in 2023. - photo by Contributed Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — The Newton Rams defense will be under different leadership going into the 2024 season with the hire of DJ Hill as the team’s new defensive coordinator.

Hill, a Newton graduate, was previously the defensive coordinator for the Stockbridge Tigers, who made it to the Class AAAA Championship last season.

Following the official announcement of the hire on Wednesday, April 11, Hill shared his thoughts about returning to his alma mater.

“It felt good. Me and Skelt have a long relationship. I started my coaching career at Newton when he was a defensive back coach and I was a linebacker coach,” Hill said. “Our relationship developed from there. Him and Spencer Fortson played a big role in me starting my coaching career after finishing playing college ball.”

Hill attended and played for the Rams before graduating in the Class of 2011. Following his time at Newton, Hill played football and baseball at the University of Virginia, where he was a four-year letterman.

After his college career, Hill spent time working out at Newton. That is where his coaching career began.

Skelton’s experience with Hill when they were on the same coaching staff played a pivotal role in his hire to be the new Rams’ defensive coordinator.

“Coach Hill is an alumni and has an incredible passion for the game of football as well as mentoring young men,” Skelton said. “We [had] been on staff together when he was first getting started and it was a joy coaching with him.”

When analyzing his own defensive scheme, Hill harped on the idea that his defense will attack relentlessly.

“We are definitely going to control the pace, we like to match offensive personnel with ours. We will have multiple packages. We will definitely be an attack style defense, we are not going to sit back and let the offense dictate what we do,” Hill said. “We are going to dictate what we do and put them in certain situations to know where our weaknesses are. With us knowing what our weaknesses are and dictating what they are doing, we are trying to exploit certain things in offenses.”

Hill is inheriting a defense that is littered with college football prospects on all levels.

In his few weeks he has already spent with the team, Hill has high aspirations for what his unit can do in 2024.

“There is talent across the board,” Hill said. “Coming off a state championship season at Stockbridge, it is very similar to what I see at Newton. There are a lot of guys that have been playing since their freshman or sophomore year. A lot of experience, [and] a lot of togetherness.  A lot of guys will have the opportunity to play college football. All of those are good signs when coming into a new situation.”

Hill’s hire as defensive coordinator was not the only coaching move announced by Newton on Wednesday.

Robert Brown, another former Stockbridge coach and Covington native, was announced as the Rams’ new offensive run game coordinator and offensive line coach. 

Breone Adkins, who was already on Newton’s staff, received a promotion to the defensive run game coordinator and defensive line coach.

Former Cleveland Brown and Missouri football player Kenronte Walker was named as the Rams’ new defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach. Walker was a two-time state champion in North Carolina as a coach.

Newton alumni and former Wingate player Robbie Wallace was named as the Rams’ new assistant linebackers coach.

With multiple alumni and homegrown coaches on his staff, Skelton expressed his extra motivation to hire people familiar with the program and area.

“Hiring Alumni is important for me,” Skelton said. “They understand what it means to be here. They understand the work ethic and passion that you must have as a coach for us to be successful.