Low-key Swinton in love with W&M
Low-key Swinton in love with W&M DUSTIN LEED, Sports Writer
Aaron Swinton wanted to do things a little differently.
While most of his Lancaster-Lebanon League peers' college choices were forgone conclusions, Swinton wanted to keep his selection a bit more under the radar.
On Wednesday, along with more than 130 other L-L athletes, the Big 33 All-Star football selection made it official.
The McCaskey star accepted a full athletic scholarship to play football at the College of William & Mary in Virginia.
"I'm not really a big talking person," Swinton said following McCaskey's National Signing Day ceremony. "The people closest to me pretty much knew (William & Mary) would be the pick, but a lot of people were surprised.
"It's just nice having everybody find out at the same time."
Swinton, a Section One First Team All-Star at running back, defensive back and kick returner, had over 2,000 all-purpose yards this season for the Red Tornado. He took unofficial visits to Princeton and Villanova and used five official visits to Lafayette, Penn, Holy Cross, Fordham and William & Mary.
It was the last official visit Swinton took -- to William & Mary -- that sealed the deal.
"I took five official visits, looked top to bottom and William & Mary is a place where I can succeed the most academically along with being in the highest level of football I can be at," Swinton said.
"It's a beautiful place; I loved my visit and love the guys on the team. I couldn't lose in this situation.
"Right when I stepped on campus I knew (William & Mary was the choice)," Swinton added. "There's always a feeling that you have, just knowing that the place is for you. It's a beautiful place and a beautiful state."
Swinton's teammate, wide receiver Diante Cherry, who signed his letter of intent with Delaware, echoed Swinton's remarks.
"You don't know what (the right choice is) until you feel it," Cherry said. "I got on campus and felt at home. Just meeting with the team and coaches, interacting with them, they treated me as one of their own. It was basically like they were my new family."
Cherry was named to the 2012 Section One First Team at wide receiver, and was an East vs. West All-Star Game selection.
Despite keeping his choice relatively mum, Swinton was familiar with William & Mary for some time because his family would vacation in Virginia, while Delaware had piqued Cherry's interest since his sophomore year.
"Having Delaware with me since I was in 10th grade, it's just incredible to finally sign," Cherry said. "You dream about this since you are young. Just this day coming, finally, it's just incredible. I can't explain it."
"This experience has been incredible," Swinton added. "You come out (to signing day) and see people who have been here for the last four years supporting you, believing in you even when you go through hard times.
"These are the people who are always going to be here (for me)."
Hempfield, which had 23 athletes signing Wednesday, also had the county's earliest start time. Promptly at 8 a.m., a full house of parents and friends at the district's administration building watched Athletic Director Steve Mummaw begin the ceremony.
He brought each of the 23 to a podium draped with a Hempfield-red banner. One by one -- from Brent Arnold (soccer at West Virginia) through Emily Zellers (volleyball at Messiah) -- all introduced themselves, gave their sport, school and intended major, and answered three questions about their choice and their future.
"I think all of them really enjoyed the accolades," Mummaw said with a laugh, "but I don't think many of them enjoyed that public speaking part. ... That's what they were worried about more than anything."
The Black Knights' tally of 23 was an unusually high number for the district, though. Mummaw said there usually are from 12 to 15 athletes signing letters at this time of year, and he wasn't sure why that total spiked this time around.
"The kids that were up there today are very good athletes and very dedicated students," Mummaw said. "This is just one of those classes."
Sports Editor Laura Eckert Thompson contributed to this story.
nMcCaskey's Big 33 standout couldn't be more excited about continuing his football career on full scholarship with the Tribe.