Big day for Jones, Mwikuta
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They’ll represent their high schools on the football field one final time.
Troup’s King Mwikuta and Callaway’s Keiondre Jones will be among the dozens of participants in today’s Under Armour All-American Game.
The game, which features many of the top high-school players in the country, will be held at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, with kickoff set for 6 p.m.
The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
After the players arrived in Orlando, they were drafted to play for one of two teams.
Mwikuta, a defensive lineman and linebacker who has signed with the University of Alabama, will play for Team Flash.
Jones, an offensive lineman who has signed with Auburn, was selected to play for Team Ballaholics.
Jones and Mwikuta have put the finishing touches on exceptional prep careers where they enjoyed tremendous team and individual success.
Jones was a four-year starter, and he was a part of the winningest senior class in school history.
The Cavaliers went 45-8 during Jones’ four years as a starter, and twice they advanced to the state semifinals.
Jones blocked for three different players, Cedric Maynard, DJ Atkins and Cartavious “Tank” Bigsby, who ran for more than 2,000 yards.
During his senior season, Jones received his Under Armour jersey during a ceremony at the school.
“I’m the one getting it, but it’s my teammates holding me accountable every day, making me work,” Jones said after receiving his jersey. “Some days I don’t want to go to work, but my momma does, my family does, my coaches do. It’s really more a testament to them than to me.”
Jones said he was looking forward to proving himself on a bigger stage.
“Once I get down there, nobody cares if I’m one of the top guards,” Jones said. “I’ll have to prove myself all over again, and it’ll be the same thing at Auburn.”
Mwikuta was a three-year starter who excelled whether he was playing defensive end or linebacker.
Mwikuta was a key part of a 2018 team that went 12-2 and reached the state semifinals for the second time in school history.
During his three years as a starter, Troup went 29-8, and that was after a 1-9 season in 2015.
When Mwikuta received his jersey during his ceremony, he made sure to include his teammates and coaches who have meant so much to him.
“They were with me, so why not honor them, and let them be here,” Mwikuta said. “I look at it is, they were with me from the beginning, so they’ll be with me now.”
The day of the ceremony, the gravity of what he’d accomplished hit home.
“It feels pretty special,” Mwikuta said. “I woke up this morning, and I was pretty excited about it. I thought, I’m really doing this. It’s a blessing, because I never thought I’d be here.”
Tanner Glisson, Troup’s head coach since 2015, has nothing but admiration for what Mwikuta has accomplished.
“He had every reason to fail, and give up, or be frustrated, or listen to the wrong advice,” Mwikuta said. “And he stayed the course. We put a plan together, and he agreed to it, and we held him accountable. And I can’t say enough good things about him. He’s just a great, great success story. And it’s not over.”
WHEN: Today, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Orlando, Camping World Stadium
LOCAL PLAYERS: Callaway’s Keiondre Jones will play for Team Ballaholics, and Troup’s King Mwikuta will play for Team Flash