Swindall cherishes time with Troy

Published 9:32 pm Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anyone who has played high school football knows the feeling of walking off the field for the final time. A select few have the opportunity to walk off the field wearing their hometown university’s uniform.

Zach Swindall is on of those select few.

While Troy’s final game at Veterans Memorial Stadium was in mid November, Swindall wrapped up his college career last week in the Trojans season finale on the road against Arkansas State, a 45-14 loss.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It was an honor to play for Troy,” Swnidall said. “To be able to play on that field was special.”

Swindall, who graduated last May, started all 12 games for the Trojans this season at center and saw action in all of his four years of eligibility.

The 6-1, 283 pound Charles Henderson High School graduate earned the starting position this season and was tested early. In his first game of 2011, Swindall was matched up with Clemson’s All-ACC defensive tackle Brandon Thompson.

“I was baptized by fire in those first two games (Clemson and Arkansas),” said Swindall. “I knew I was going to have to block him all summer so I was prepared.”

Prepared indeed. Swindall registered 11 knockdown blocks in the game and at time got the best of the talented Thompson.

“I got him on the ground a few times,” Swindall laughingly said. “The game slowed down for me after that.”

In a season that produced few high points, Swindall said the memory he’ll cherish most from the Trojans 3-9 season was defeating rival Middle Tennessee State on the newly named Larry Blakeney Field and keeping the coveted Palladium Trophy on the campus of Troy University.

“To win that game for coach and hoist the trophy was special,” he said. “That was the moment I had been waiting for.”

Growing up just down the street from the university, Swindall says the local community made the experience that much more fulfilling.

“The community has been great,” he said. “It was great to see a smile on the face of local fans.”

Swindall credited several former Trojan offensive linemen as mentors while he was an underclassmen and hopes that his example can be an inspiration for Troy’s younger players.

“The journey I’ve been on proves that you can work hard from the bottom and get to the top. You have to come ready to work and I hoped I’ve shown that.”

While undoubtedly, missing the Saturday’s on the gridiron Swindall’s teammates may miss him more for his off-the-field contributions in the kitchen.

“The guys would always ask me when my mom was cooking again,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll miss that.”

As for on the field, Swindall says the camaraderie among his teammates will be missed the most.

“Having those 11 guys on you side looking in the same direction down field with 11 other guys looking back is what made it great,” he said.

Swindall, who is working on his master’s degree, says he will continue to train in preparation for Troy’s pro day.

“The coaches said they’ve had some conversations with professional scouts about me so I’m going to continue to work and maybe something will work out.”

While Swindall says he is a long shot for the draft, if the possibility arises to play at the next level he would be excited to continue playing.

“It is defiantly something I would consider,” he said.

Swindall aims to attend law school upon completion of his master’s degree.

Swindall finishes his career having played in 20 games as a Trojan and was a member of four of Troy’s five consecutive Sun Belt champion teams.