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PITTS: One final shout out to this year's signees
NEwton Signing 2024

Sign here.

Those words have been read this last school year by many student-athletes in the county-area schools — perhaps the most ever.

I have been covering sports in Newton County (and Social Circle) since I became an intern here at The Covington News in 2019.

In my time as an intern and freelancer, I had the opportunity to cover Alcovy football’s biggest signing day at the time after they won its first region title in program history.

As a Covington native and Alcovy graduate myself, It was a surreal moment to see such a big signing class for a program that had not seen one of that size at the time.

Even then, I knew that THOSE types of stories were the ones I wanted to tell.

When I became the sports editor at The News last September, I wanted to hit the ground running on signings.

By that, I mean attending each signing, interviewing each signee and eventually publishing a story about that athlete and their big day.

No matter the sport.

No matter the athlete.

No matter the school they attended.

No matter the school they signed to.

Excelling at both athletics and academics and earning a scholarship based on that is no small feat. That is why I wanted to be extra intentional about my signing coverage and telling THEIR stories.

This year, though I don’t have the exact number, feels like a year in which the county-area schools had record-level signings.

Whether it was football, softball, basketball, baseball, golf, swim, soccer or wrestling, the county-area athletes pushed the limits and secured chances to compete at the next level.

This year’s signees truly proved the point that this area has tremendous athletes, and I am glad that they are being recognized and celebrated with these opportunities.

Though I cannot shout out each signee, I wanted to highlight a few that stuck with me the most.

One of the first signings I covered as the sports editor was for Newton track star, Amoi Hagans, who signed to Ohio State.

Continuing in the family tradition of competing in college athletics, Hagans made her decision long before her senior track season — a season in which Hagans went on to rack up numerous first place finishes.

Another signing I covered early in my tenure was for Social Circle’s Peyton Brooks, who signed to Truett McConnell.

Brooks is — by a wide gap — the most decorated player in the history of the Lady Redskins’ program. 

Though her signing came prior to her final season, it was truly a culmination of her career, which ended with her being the leading scorer in the program’s history and winning a state title and competing for another.

Despite this not being a traditional signing, I would be hard pressed to not mention Eastside’s Cole Goering being selected to represent the United States in the 2025 Special Olympics Winter Games.

Seeing the Eagles’ faculty surprise Goering on stage with “Team Cole Torino 2025” shirts is something I do not think I will forget anytime soon.

Though these two players played at different schools, I got the opportunity to see Alcovy’s Reece Payne and Eastside’s Blake Hughes sign to the same college — South Georgia State College.

Payne and Hughes were two of the premier baseball players in the county, and it is going to be fun to check in a year or two to see how they are playing as teammates.

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to Newton football’s 2024 signing class.

In Josh Skelton’s first signing class as head coach, 13 Rams signed their national letters of intent (NLI).

The class featured signings such as Quintavion Norman to Kentucky, Marcus Calwise to Eastern Kentucky and Keon Davis to Georgia Southern.

Seeing a big signing class pen their NLIs together has always been one of my favorite sites — dating back to that Alcovy football signing class I mentioned earlier.

The large amount of signings this year is a testament to many things. But, above all, it shows the dedication and commitment to mastering their craft and pushing the limits.

It also shows the work that the coaches within the program put forth in providing all the chances for their kids to grow and get better.

Another thing to mention is the impact.

More county-area signings just further shows the young athletes in the area that IT IS possible for them.

Now that I gear up for another school year of sports in a couple of months, my plan for covering signings will only grow.

This time next year, I am confident I will be talking about a new large crop of athletes that will be competing at the collegiate level and representing the county on the big stage.

Garrett Pitts is the sports editor of The Covington News. He can be reached at