OUR VIEW: Local athletes get ready for primetime

Published 3:55 pm Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Chances are if you flip on college football for a few hours this weekend, you’ll probably end up seeing someone from Chambers County on the field.

The weekend’s marquee game features Oregon and Auburn squaring off in Arlington, Texas in a battle between the Pac 12 and SEC and each team has a player with local ties.

Auburn is expected to rely heavily on starting sophomore running back and LaFayette graduate JaTarvious Whitlow. If the Tigers win, there’s a good chance that Whitlow had a lot to do with it.

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For Oregon, there’s a chance that Oregon freshman defensive back and Lanett graduate Trikweze Bridges makes his college debut. He’s currently listed as a third-string defensive back on the Ducks’ depth chart.

Regardless, the point remains the same as both players figure to have big roles for years to come at both Auburn and Oregon.

Down the road in Atlanta, Troup County graduate and West Point native King Mwikuta could make his debut in the Alabama-Duke game.

He’s listed on the depth chart as a backup at jack linebacker, which is essentially an outside linebacker on the edge whose primary job is to rush the backfield.

Another local, Troup County graduate Jamari Thrash, may make his college debut as Georgia State takes on Tennessee. Later on Saturday, Alcorn State travels to Southern Mississippi to begin the season. Freshman lineman and LaFayette graduate Trevor Vines could make his college debut in the matchup.

Although many of the country’s big games will be played on Saturday, the action begins in Florence tonight as North Alabama hosts Western Illinois at 8 p.m. EDT on ESPN+.

The Lions roster features Lanett High School graduate Ja’Won Howell. Last season, Howell saw some playing time and had less than a handful of rushing attempts, which kept his freshman status active as a player that would be redshirted.

Also, tonight in FCS action at the same time and broadcast viewing space, Jacksonville State will go on the road to face Southeastern Louisiana. The Gamecocks are led by redshirt senior and Lanett graduate Marlon Bridges.

Bridges has been a preseason All-American for the last two seasons and has received some sort of All-American recognition in each of the last four seasons.

It’s incredible that so many locals have had the chance to go on and play college football at the next level.

It’s likely not everyone will play this weekend, but we’ll see all of these guys on the field at some point this year.