Tragedy Leads To Change Of Plans

Prospect wants to honor his late coach and teammate.

Stone Mountain, Ga.--Tucker High School wide receiver James Swinton had planned to spend the weekend in Auburn getting a chance to know his future teammates on his official recruiting visit.

However, a tragedy that rocked his school, and the Tucker High football team in particular, caused a change in plans. An intruder on a late-night crime spree broke into the home of Tucker High assistant coach William Venable and shot and killed the coach and his 17-year-old son, William Venable, Jr.

James Swinton

"James decided he wanted to go to the wake on Friday and the funeral on Saturday," says his father, James Swinton Jr. "He decided it would be best to postpone his visit to Auburn.

"What happened was just a real tragedy," the receiver's father adds. "It was a random act of violence that is difficult to understand. It was tough on James and a lot of others.

"Coach Venable and his family have Auburn connections. His wife is an Auburn graduate. (She is related to former Tiger player C.H. "Babe" McGehee, who scored the first touchdown at Jordan-Hare Stadium.) Coach Venable's son William was planning to walk on to the football team at Auburn this fall."

James Swinton, Sr. says that his son will be on the Auburn campus this coming weekend for an official visit. "He has already rescheduled the visit. His commitment to Auburn is very strong. He has talked to the coaches and asked if he can wear No. 78 on his helmet next season in honor of William. The coaches said that they are fine with that."

Swinton, an early commitment to the Tigers, was a standout in an Auburn summer football camp. He is a track star, too, who is one of the fastest prospects in the state of Georgia. The 6-0, 165-pounder committed to the Tigers in July.

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