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Mwikuta playing in national-championship game

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

When former Troup Tiger King Mwikuta signed with Alabama, he knew there was a good chance he’d end up playing for a national championship.

On Monday night, Mwikuta will get his chance.

Mwikuta, a sophomore linebacker, will try to help Alabama beat Ohio State in Monday’s national-championship game in Miami.

While Mwikuta plays sparingly on defense, he’s a key contributor on special teams on the kickoff and punt teams.

“He knew when he went there that most of the time at Alabama you have to wait your turn, but you’re going to play for championships,” said Troup head coach Tanner Glisson. “He’s an SEC champion, and now he’s got a chance to play in the biggest game of all.”

Mwikuta was a three-year starter at Troup where he was a defensive lineman and linebacker, and he helped lead the team to the Class AAAA state semifinals as a senior in 2018.

Mwikuta developed into one of the state’s top prospects, and he had plenty of options when it came time to choose a school.

Mwikuta chose Alabama, and he made it official in December of 2018 when he signed his letter of intent, and he was enrolled and on campus by January of 2019.

Mwikuta committed to Alabama during the summer of 2018, and at that point, his recruitment was over.

“He was allotted five official visits, and he took one,” Glisson said when Mwikuta signed. “He did not play games in the recruiting process. King is a very loyal individual. Commitment means something to King Mwikuta, and I’m very proud of how he handled that situation.”

During his freshman season in 2019, Mwikuta played in 10 games and he had four tackles while playing on special teams.

Mwikuta’s role has been mostly the same this season.

While he’ll occasionally get onto the field at linebacker, Mwikuta’s primary role is as a special-teams player.

In Alabama’s playoff win over Notre Dame, Mwikuta was on the field for nearly every special-teams play.

“He’s on the field,” Glisson said. “He might not be getting all the reps on defense, but he’s on almost every single special team, and so to be in that game and actually get to play is huge.”

If Alabama wins on Monday, Mwikuta would become the second former Troup player to win a championship at the school.

Reuben Foster, who played at Troup for three seasons before transferring to Auburn High, was an All-American linebacker when Alabama won it all in 2016.

When Foster was a senior, Alabama lost in the championship game.