Newton running back Darwin Barlow got the attention of East Texas with a breakout sophomore season. As a junior, his reach extended well beyond.

The Eagles’ standout has attracted some of the biggest college football programs in the country. The hard part will be saying “no” to all but one of those schools.

“(The most difficult part is) having to choose between the great coaches that you have a close relationship with,” Barlow said.

But that decision is fast approaching for Barlow, who said he will announce his commitment sometime before his team’s season opener Aug. 31.

Barlow (6-0, 200) checks in at No. 5 on ETSN.fm’s East Texas 25, a list of the area’s top recruits in the 2019 class.

It’s been a hectic few months for Barlow, who’s made visits to Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Minnesota, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas. Barlow said he also plans on visiting LSU soon.

The checklist for Barlow is simple and straightforward.

“Most importantly education, and of course somewhere I can get playing time,” he said.

Barlow wants to study business, either finance or accounting, or maybe engineering in college.

The Newton running back currently holds offers from 21 FBS programs — Arkansas, Arkansas State, Baylor, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisville, LSU, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, SMU, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Utah, and UTSA.

Barlow considers all the options as blessings.

“Being able to go on visits and be able to choose from wherever you want (is the best part of my recruiting process),” he said.

Newton, which won the Class 3A Division II state championship last December, has four Division I recruits in the 2019 class. Offensive lineman Caiden Walker has already committed to Louisiana Tech, while ATH’s Tamauazia Brown and Josh Foster remain undecided.

Barlow admits he’s thought about potentially partnering with his current teammates at the next level.

“Playing with each other would be nice but I’d say (my decision will come down to) whatever’s best (for me),” he said.

Last season, Barlow rushed for 2,246 yards and 38 touchdowns, and added 14 receptions for 189 and four TD’s.

“I’d say being able to break through the first level easily and finding a way is everything,” Barlow said. “This summer I’ve been working on being more elusive. So me having that (shiftiness) I feel like I will be untouchable.”

East Texas 25 Class of 2019