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PREP FOOTBALL: Newton's Benton transferring to IMG Academy
Justin Benton
Newton sophomore Justin Benton (99) announced Friday he intends to transfer to IMG Academy. - Anthony Banks | The Covington News

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton football standout Justin Benton took to social media Friday afternoon to announce his intention to transfer to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Benton, a four-star recruit according to, has received a bevy of scholarship offers from the likes of Georgia, Florida, USC and Oregon, among others. In a post on his Twitter account, he thanked his teammates, coaches and teachers at Newton for the role they’ve played in his development.

“My love runs deep for Newton and I will forever be a Ram,” Benton said in a Tweet. “However the Lord has provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime and a dream for most people to attend IMG Academy.”

During his sophomore campaign with the Rams, Benton recorded 93 total tackles as a defensive lineman. He led the team in sacks (12.5), tackles for loss (24.5) and QB hurries (22), tied teammate Darius Green for solo tackles (55), and added an interception.

IMG Academy, which was founded in 1978, is a world-famous boarding school known for housing prominent student-athletes. Among notable alumni are Kellen Mond, Bo Scarbrough and Anfernee Simmons.

The Ascenders posted an 8-0 record on the gridiron in 2020, outscoring opponents 381-82 en route to being crowned national champions by USA Today.