High School Football
Newnan’s Britt commits to North Carolina
by Chris Goltermann
Maybe the best lesson learned by a high school athlete in the arduous process that is college football recruiting is it’s not about who wants you on the first day, but who values you on the last one.
It’s as much a reason why J.K. Britt’s patience still paid dividends two years after the Newnan High standout was first receiving looks from major Division I programs as a rising sophomore.
Britt, who battled through the first major injury of his career as a junior in 2013 while still earning All- Region and All-County honors with the Cougars as a defensive back, verbally committed to North Carolina on Monday just prior to the NCAA’s allotted “dead period” between college coaches and players.
“I wanted to go and get it over with. This way I could focus on this season,” Britt said. “The dead period was coming up and I wouldn’t be able to have any contact with coaches, so I felt it was best to do it now. It takes a load off my chest.”
The 5-11, 185-pounder’s commitment continues a recent trend of Newnan High football players moving on to Division I programs. He said he plans to enroll in Chapel Hill in January.
It also ends a series of visits both by the Cougar to potential schools as well as those from college recruit- ers to watch Britt, most recently at spring practice, in Newnan. A list that also included offers from fellow ACC schools Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, N.C. State and Virginia Tech, saw Kentucky and Tennessee join the chase over the last three months while making unofficial visits to both schools over the same weekend in mid-June.
“My top two was UNC and Kentucky. When I visited Kentucky, I liked it a lot. But when I got to UNC I liked what I saw there also,” said Britt, who has been recruited as a defensive back. “It was tough because I had established a good relationship with a coach at Kentucky. But when it comes down to it, you have to commit to a school, not a coach.”
During his high school career, Britt has established himself as a star in all three phases while making contributions since stepping on to the field as a fresh- man. He played mostly offense as a sophomore, rushing for 551 yards and four touch- downs while also hauling in 29 receptions including three more scores. He also made 31 tackles after stepping into a start- ing role in the secondary late in 2012 and was a return threat on special teams
Last year, Britt was well on pace to eclipse his previous year’s rushing totals when suffering injuries to both ankles by Week 5.
“It was a little frustrating because it was the first time in my career that I had been injured,” he said. “You’ve got to keep fighting for your teammates.”
While Britt’s numbers for 2013 weren’t nearly as eye-popping, finishing with 429 yards rushing on 81 carries — only 19 of which came after September — he managed to continue to make an impact on defense.
His four interceptions, which included picks in back-to-back Region 3-AAAAAA victories over Douglas County and Westlake, were tied for most on the Cougars.
Healthy again by spring practice, schools continued to pick up their pursuit with Big 10 schools Michigan State, Nebraska and Iowa adding offers in May, the latter two com- ing just days apart following sepa- rate visits to Newnan High.
“I’ve had real good support from my family,” Britt said of the recruiting process. “I’m just ready to get things started. My teammates and I are really looking forward to a great season.”