Local Boys From The Citadel Enjoy Playing At Home

A pair of Citadel players from the Auburn area discuss their opportunity to play at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn, Ala--It was a special day for a pair of The Citadel players, linebacker Andrew Rowell and left tackle Doug Chandler.

For them, it was more than just an opportunity to play against a Top 10 team in front of 76,302 fans. For Rowell and Chandler, it was a chance for them to show their hometown school that, despite their lack of size, they can play with the big boys.

True freshman Andrew Rowell, cousin of former Auburn player Lemarcus Rowell, was an All-State selection his senior season at Opelika High School, but wasn't offered a scholarship by Auburn. He is generously listed as standing 5-11 and weighing 220 on The Citadel's roster.

"For me being undersized, they were saying I'm too short to be put on scholarship," Rowell said. "It's always good to know that you can play on this level, and that size really isn't what matters, it's what's on the inside. If you've got the heart to do it and mindset then you can do anything."

Rowell, the second team middle linebacker, finished the day with two solo tackles, including a tackle for loss on Auburn tailback Carl Stewart in the first quarter.

Junior Doug Chandler, a 6-2, 260-pounder, played at Auburn High School and wasn't offered a scholarship by Auburn either.

"Auburn didn't really look at me and that's fine and dandy," Chandler said. "Apparently that's not what God wanted. If I was supposed to be here, then I would have been here, but He let me use my talents somewhere else and still have the chance to come back home and show it. So maybe Auburn can say, ‘We could have gotten him.' And if they don't feel that way, that's fine and dandy, too. I'm playing for myself and I'm playing for The Citadel. I can't look back on things. I don't regret it or anything. Life turns out in different ways."

Even though the Bulldogs lost the game 33-3, it was a sweet homecoming for both players.

"Words can't describe how I'm feeling right now," Rowell said. "Fans cheering and people you know screaming your name. I've felt kind of home sick and it feels good to come back. It's hard up there. I've tried to maintain, but it's just a special, warm feeling that you get when you come back home. You know everybody and you have a good atmosphere to welcome you back home."

Chandler said he was amazed by the crowd and atmosphere, and also noted that it was a great experience to come home and play in front of his family and friends.

"It was unbelievable," he said. "That was a blessing not only to have fun, but to have people support you in your own backyard, which not many players get the chance to have. It was something special and it will always be remembered by us.

"For me it's more of a reward," Chandler added. "All the hard work, it almost seems like it has paid off. Not too many people from here (in Auburn) get to see what I do because we live so far away. It was a blessing to come back home and let everybody see my hard work out there on the field in front of all of my home people."

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