By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — Once football season ended in the fall and 2020 began, the march to the end of the school year turned strange.
But now Troy’s Brandon Swallow is ready for to take the next step.
Swallow, a senior offensive and defensive lineman for the Troy High School football team, recently signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his football career in college at Bluffton University, an NCAA Division III school playing in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
“I’m excited. I’m ready to play,” Swallow said. “I’m ready to go on and explore new things and do good for other people.”
And even though new things and people were what drew Swallow to Bluffton, its similar atmosphere to Troy and how it felt like home was another selling point.
“The people there and where it was. It was a way I could find new people to be friends with,” Swallow said. “I went on two different visits: one as just a random visit and one official visit. Everybody was nice, and I really liked it. It reminded me of here (Troy).
“I wanted to be far enough to where I could get away, but close enough to where I could come back.”
And while Swallow briefly looked at other schools, he knew from the start that Bluffton was where he’d end up.
“No, not really. I knew that this was the stop,” Swallow said.
Swallow — who likely plans to study business at Bluffton — had two tackles this season for the Trojans, one solo, and was part of a deep group of offensive and defensive linemen that was key to the team’s success. In fact, the season continued an unprecedented string of success for the Trojans — they won their fourth straight division title and first one in the Miami Valley League Miami Division, as well as qualifying for the playoffs for the fourth straight year — the longest such run in Troy’s program history.
Swallow, listed at 6-foot-5 and 322 pounds, will join a Beavers team that went 2-8 last season, including 2-5 in conference play, to help shore up the Bluffton lines in the trenches.
“When we talked about Brandon at our team banquet, when talking about all our seniors, the first thing that came to mind was how we called them the ‘men of Troy.’ And if anyone really embodied that, it was him,” Troy football coach Dan Gress said. “From being committed to the team and to his teammates all the way to just living and breathing Troy football, that’s what he did.”
And while the end of his senior year has been a strange one with school buildings closed as the state contends with the COVID-19 pandemic, Swallow is ready to leave the house and get back onto the playing field.
“It’s been different,” Swallow said. “Not being able to go outside and do anything, being stuck at home, it’s been tough.
“I’m ready to get on the field, for sure. I’m ready.”
Contact Josh Brown at email@example.com.
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