Moving on

Talladega County Central senior Jaylon Swain (center) signed a letter-of-intent to play football for Faulkner University. He missed the final few weeks of the Fighting Tigers’ 2018 season due to a knee injury.

HOWELL’S COVE -- Jaylon Swain on Thursday signed a letter-of-intent to play football at Faulkner University in Montgomery.

Swain is the second Talladega County Central athlete to sign a football scholarship in the last two seasons.

“I am blessed,” Swain said. “If it wasn’t for God, my family and for me to keep pushing everyday, I don’t know where I would be right now. I am grateful for the opportunity that they gave me. It is only up from here.”

Swain said when he went on his visit, he built a strong connection with Faulkner’s players and coaches.

“It fit what I wanted to do,” Swain said. “The coaches and the players showed me love when I went down there. The coaches made me feel like I was their own child. Actually, when I did the tour, they were the ones with me.

“I met all the players. I was with my group of linebackers the whole time. They were teaching me plays and reading film. I like the way they broke everything down.”

Swain had a solid season for the Fighting Tigers.

The senior linebacker was named The Daily Home 1A-3A Player of the Year even though he missed the last few weeks of the season with an ACL injury.

TC Central head coach Chris Mahand lauded the way Swain was able to fight through adversity over the last few seasons.

“Jaylon has been playing for me since he was a ninth-grader,” Mahand said. “One thing that I can say about him is that he is resilient.

“He has had a couple of injuries the past couple of seasons, but he has fought to get back. He never let that discourage him from wanting to play the game of football. That just speaks to his heart and love for the game.”

Mahand relied on Swain to be an extension of him on defense. The veteran coach said it will be difficult to replace all the things Swain did for the team.

“He may not be the most athletic kid that I ever had, but he is definitely one of the smartest,” Mahand said. “He was always that general on the field that I could depend on. He could tell me what’s going on that you can't see on the field. He always brought that to the game, especially his senior year.

“When he went down, I definitely missed him because I didn't have that general to get people lined up and put them in the right direction.

“Usually by Tuesday going into game week, he knew the game plan that I wanted. He would call the strengths, the formations and the plays that the other team was about to run.”

Swain said Faulkner is getting someone who is going to work hard to be the best student-athlete he can be.

“They are getting a leader on and off the field,” Swain said.

Swain expressed gratitude toward those who helped make his dream of playing at the next level become a reality.

“I would like to thank my parents, my coaches,” he said, “and I would like to thank my trainer, Desmond Ross.”