DECATUR, Tenn. — Aaron Swafford, one of the Chattanooga area's top college football prospects in the rising senior class, saw no reason to delay his decision any longer. Meigs County's two-time all-state quarterback announced his commitment to Navy during an exclusive Facebook Live interview Monday afternoon with the Times Free Press.
"Playing football at a high level has always been my goal since I was a little kid," Swafford said. "Early on in the recruiting process I was told to go where you're wanted, and the coaches at Navy have proven for a while that they want me in their program, so I decided why wait and let someone else possibly take this opportunity that's mine.
"When I visited there, we looked at their offense a lot. They've always been a triple-option offense, but they want to be able to go shotgun more and throw some, which is what I'm comfortable with since it's the offense I've played for most of my career. Really, I'm willing to do anything that helps my team win.
"I know we'll get to play against top-level competition, but away from the game I've always been concerned about life after football and I know any of the academies will help you to find that for yourself. The security of my future by going there is just another really big deal in helping me make my decision."
Swafford, who is 35-4 as the Tigers starter since his freshman season, chose Navy over offers from Southern Illinois, Tennessee Tech and UT-Martin. He also is being recruited by Louisville, Memphis, Arkansas, Kentucky, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Air Force, Kennesaw State, Austin Peay and Lehigh.
Louisville, Arkansas and UTC have recruited him as a defensive player.
"It's a big deal to have the chance to play quarterback first," said Swafford, who has added more than 20 pounds to his frame since the end of last season. "Quarterback is a big leadership position, and I like being in that role."
The 6-foot, 210-pound Swafford, a two-time Mr. Football Award finalist, won the award last year as Class 2A's top player after accounting for 2,868 total yards — rushing for 1,124 and throwing for 1,744. He was also made 50 tackles on defense and returned a fumble 96 yards for a touchdown to help lead Meigs County to its second straight unbeaten regular season and a run to the state semifinals for the first time since 1995.
In the Tigers' semifinal loss at Trousdale County, Swafford accounted for 375 total yards and was in on all four touchdowns.
"The thing that every recruiter who's looking at him goes on and on about is just the way he competes," Meigs County coach Jason Fitzgerald said. "He has that 'it' factor. No matter if it's a Thursday afternoon in practice or Friday night when game time rolls around, he's just a winner.
"He's a guy that bench-presses 315 pounds, squats 450 and dead-lifts 500 and runs the 40 in around 4.6 seconds, so he's got the physical tools to step on the field and contribute anywhere, regardless of which side of the ball he's on. He's got the IQ and the want-to to go along with his athletic ability and instincts, so he's got a chance to be really good at the next level."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.