Troup linebacker honored

Published 11:46 am Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Daily News

King Mwikuta, a defensive standout who has helped spur Troup’s turnaround the past two seasons, is in select company.

The Butkus Award is given each year to the country’s top high-school linebacker, and 51 players have been nominated.

One of those nominees is Mwikuta, a two-year starter who’ll be an anchor of Troup’s defense this season.

“It’s pretty high company, and we’re excited about it,” Troup head coach Tanner Glisson said. “I really believe we’re bracing for a breakout season (from Mwikuta).”

In 2015 when Mwikuta was a freshman who didn’t play, Troup struggled through a 1-9 season.

The following year, with Mwikuta moving into a starting role, Troup went 8-3 and enjoyed one of the top turnarounds in the state.

The 2017 season was an even more successful one for the Tigers, who went 9-3 and won a game in the state playoffs.

This will be Mwikuta’s third season as a starter, and his fourth year in the system, and Glisson is expecting big things.

“Sometimes as a sophomore it’s hard to process everything you’re supposed to do,” Glisson said. “But now he’s played a lot of football, so we’re pretty excited about it.”

Among the Butkus nominees are six players from Georgia, including Mwikuta.

The other Georgia nominees are Trezman Marshall (Clinch County), Kevin Harris (Grayson), Owen Pappoe (Grayson), J.D. Bertrand (Blessed Trinity), and Kalen DeLoach (Islands).

The winner will be announced in December.

Mwikuta was being heavily recruited even before he made his first varsity appearance.

As Mwikuta began playing and he showed how effective he can be, his recruitment only intensified.

Late last year, Mwikuta announced that he plans on signing with the University of Alabama.

“I just felt in my heart this is the right thing to do,” Mwikuta said during the ceremony in December when he announced his decision. “I talked to coach (Glisson) for many, many days, countless hours, and this is what I really wanted to do. I almost postponed it, because I was so nervous about it. I’ve been praying about it and praying about it, and God just said go ahead and do it. I think this is the right thing for me to do to get where I want to get to in life.”

Glisson said Mwikuta has been a joy to be around as an athlete, and as a person.

“King has never missed a workout. He has never missed a practice. He is in school every day,” Glisson said. “There’s no time other than us taking him for a visit that he misses school. He’s the first one out on the practice field.

“He’s great with my children, with the way he treats my wife, with the way he treats everybody he comes into contact with.”