It didn’t take long for trash talk to fire up between new Lambert defensive end Trevon McSwain and his old teammates at Lanier High School.
McSwain left Lanier in June, in time to join Lambert for summer workouts. Naturally, the first regular season game of McSwain’s Longhorns career comes this Friday at home against—who else?—Lanier.
"They think they’re going to beat us, and beat us by two-plus touchdowns," McSwain said, laughing before turning serious. "They don’t know what’s coming."
Lambert head coach Louis Daniel was aware of the long, pass-rushing specialist at Lanier long before McSwain moved in to the Lambert district—Daniel’s brother-in-law, David Willingham, is the defensive coordinator and a math teacher at Lanier.
"I was real close with coach Willingham," McSwain said. "He taught me for two years and we always joked around off the field. He became like another teammate to me."
Willingham informed McSwain of the connection when he heard the news.
"That put me at ease a little bit. I knew I would be in good hands [at Lambert]," McSwain said.
The transition from Lanier to Lambert wasn’t always smooth.
"Any time you spend three years building relationships with your classmates and coaches, it’s going to be hard for a boy to move," Daniel said. "Trevon’s family moved up here, so he didn’t change schools by choice. He never let on that it was difficult. It’s a credit to Trevon that he stuck it out here."
McSwain won’t admit as much: "Everybody’s welcomed me with open arms so far," he said.
This summer, McSwain added 15 pounds to his lanky frame in preparation for the double- and triple-teams and run-heavy offenses he’ll likely face in Region 6, though he conceded he’s not yet comfortable playing against read-option runs, of which he’ll see plenty against region rivals West and South Forsyth.
The 6-foot-7, 238-pound McSwain committed to Duke on June 17 over offers from Tennessee, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech and 17 other Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) offers. 247Sports rates him as a three-star prospect, the No. 46 overall player in Georgia and the 25th-best weak-side defensive end in the country.
"What stood out about Duke was that [head] coach [David] Cutcliffe and the defensive line coach, [Rick] Petri, seemed to care about me more than any other school did," McSwain said. "Coach Cutcliffe was really the only head coach to keep in constant contact, even when he was on vacation with his family."
For now, McSwain has his final high school season to worry about. As Friday’s 7:30 pm kickoff at The Horn approaches, he’s dialed in and excited to try to slow down a Lanier offense that rattled off nearly 4,200 total yards last season.
"Trevon’s not a rah-rah guy, and you’re not always sure what his emotions are, but he’s had the best week of practice since he’s been here," Daniel said.
"It’s going to be fun going against the people I used to play with," McSwain said. "When we’re on the field, though, it’s only business."