Chieftains junior-to-be headed to Georgia for second round in July

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SHIPROCK — Tyris Newton, a standout wide receiver for the Shiprock football team, is one step closer to making the Team USA roster.

Newton, an incoming junior at Shiprock High, was selected for a regional tryout in Denver last month, and following the two-day event, he was picked to advance to the second and final round of tryouts.

"It was definitely surprising," Newton said. "I guess I felt average running with that group of guys. It was really fun, and I had a great time. I had no idea I'd make the cut."

More: Shiprock's Tyris Newton earns Team USA invite

During the tryout in Denver, Newton was put through different position-specific drills as coaches from various colleges graded each player's performance. The bulk of the drills focused on the basics of the wide receiver position such as footwork and route running.

Heading into the tryout, Newton thought his speed would be one of his biggest advantages over the other players, but he quickly found out that wouldn’t be the case.

He said a lot of the other prospects were much smaller than him — he's about 6-foot-2 — but a lot of them had speed and quickness he couldn't match. But Newton's size as a potential red zone threat made up for the difference.

Newton will have to travel to Carrollton, Ga., about 50 miles west of Atlanta, for his next tryout July 7-9. There are four locations for the second round of tryouts — Davis, Calif.; Arlington, Texas; Canton, Ohio, and Carrollton — but a previous commitment Newton had made to a national Junior ROTC camp in Missouri during the tryout dates for the California and Texas tryouts left only Ohio and Georgia as options.

The tryout will be held at the University of West Georgia, where the players will stay in dorms for the three-day event that will follow a similar regimen as the regional tryout last month.

Newton plans on keeping the same approach he used during the first tryout

"I think I'll approach it the same way, but I did learn some things (in Denver). They taught me how to run my routes a little sharper," Newton said. "The one-on-one experience I got from the coaches really helped."

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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