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SIGNING DAY: Newton coach Camiel Grant's first signing day elicits feelings of pride, accomplishment
Camiel Grant
Newton head coach Camiel Grant addresses the audience with some of his coaching staff, and principal Shannon Buff, looking on. -photo by Matthew Grimes

COVINGTON, Ga. —  Although Camiel Grant is only in month two of officially being the new head coach of the Newton Rams, his role at Newton for the last 10 years has helped him make a lasting impact on many of the players that signed with their respective colleges Wednesday.

Grant is viewed by many of the players as more than just a coach, but more of a father figure that they can lean on during the toughest of challenges. 

One such player who echoed that sentiment is defensive end Alex Jackson who dealt with eligibility issues throughout his senior season, but Jackson said Grant made sure he did not give up.

“Coach Grant was there every step of the way making sure I did not give up in anything,” Jackson said. “He made sure I was there in every morning workouts, made sure I was there at every practice going full throttle. He preached to me every single day ‘it’s going to be okay, I got you, I got you.’”

Jackson went on to say that Grant was the coach that broke the news to him before the Rams' game against Archer that he was finally eligible to play, and he cried on Grant’s shoulder after hearing the news. 

Cornerback Dejuan Brown agreed with the idea of coach Grant being a father figure and took it a step further telling me the nickname that many of the players have given their new head coach.

“We call him ‘Master Grant’ because he really has that father figure touch that will put you on the right path so that you can succeed,” said Brown. “He’s all about discipline. Discipline is a major key to winning, and he put that discipline in me to make me a better player.”

Grant felt the same way about his players. He said that it felt as if he were watching many of his own sons signing to play college ball, and watching their progression as student-athletes, from ninth grade to now, has been a moment of great pride for him.

“I’m extremely proud, and more so, because they have demonstrated the ability to set a goal, work towards it and then accomplish it, so for me it’s about seeing that they are starting to understand the process of growing from a young man into a man.”

Grant’s pride for the first signing class during his tenure as head coach is also paired with great excitement as each of these athletes display qualities that he holds to a very high degree. 

“I’m excited, of course,” he said. “I’m more excited about the fact that all of these young men, regardless of their football ability or the level that they’ll play at, all of them are great character guys. These guys are exactly what we want our program to stand for.”