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Mercer Lands Talented Duo from the Golden Isles

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By Matthew Golden
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Glynn Academy teammates Jordan Swain and Byron Bacon have each signed their LOI and look forward to their chance at the next level.

Two heralded defensive prospects from the Golden Isles are headed to Macon to join the Mercer Bears football program.

Glynn Academy teammates Jordan Swain and Byron Bacon have each signed their LOI and now look forward to their chance at the next level. Swain, the versatile defensive lineman, was the first of the two to commit, taking to Twitter to announce his intentions of joining the Bears in December of 2019.

It’s safe to say that Swain is eager to get on campus and make an impact.

”I’m most definitely excited, a little bit anxious, you know, I’m ready – I’m just ready to get in there and go to work…Got to go to work, got to work on being the best me I can be, to help the team be the best they can be, you know. I’m ready” said Swain.

Byron Bacon would make his commitment after an official visit to Mercer in late January, also taking to Twitter to announce his plans as a student-athlete. Playing at the next level is now a realization for the rangy defensive back.

“Man, it means everything. It’s a dream come true. A lot of kids like myself dream about this, you know, growing up, a lot of them are told its kind of impossible or you need to be a certain type of player to make it happen. But for me to beat the odds and come out on top the way I did, it’s a blessing.” Bacon shared.

The recruiting trail for both athletes wasn’t always aligned. Byron Bacon accumulated several offers throughout his senior season, warranting a Power 5 offer from the University of Kansas. Swain once committed to Valdosta State would draw heavy attention during his senior campaign, earning over thirteen scholarships before committing to Mercer.

“It felt great. Honestly, when I committed to Mercer it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. You know, the stress of the recruitment process. When I signed it was just a relief, I was happy, and from then on I was ready to go to work. If I could leave today, you know I would.” added Swain regarding putting the recruiting process to rest.

A large factor in the decision of these two young men was the hiring of former Lenoir-Rhyne head coach Drew Cronic. After the separation from Bobby Lamb, Mercer chose the former University of Georgia wideout to become the 20th head coach in the program’s history.

Swain explained his confidence in coach Cronic, adding that he considered Lenoir-Rhyne heavily due to the coaching staff Cronic had implemented. When the new man at the helm for the Bears offered Swain to join him in Macon, it was an easy decision for the defensive lineman.

“I was committed to Valdosta State, they’re a great team, great coaches, and I was committed there. Then coach Cronic and his staff came down to Macon at the last second. They offered me it was kind of like a no-brainer, you know?”
Bacon also noted that the hire of Cronic appealed him to Mercer and added “Coach Cronic was recruiting me heavy for Lenore-Rhyne, I took a visit up there and I felt very at home. I weighed Lenoir-Rhyne heavily, but once Cronic made his move and offered me, I knew.”

Along with the hiring of Drew Cronic, the ability to stay close to home and remain in Georgia was important to both Golden Isles standouts.

“Just being in Georgia, you know, I’m close to home, not too far away from the family. I can get back if I need to, they can come and see me play, watch the games, it – it means the world, you know,” stated Swain.

“When I originally went up to Lenoir-Rhyne. I loved the coaching staff and the team atmosphere, but the only problem was the distance. That’s in North Carolina. But the fact that coach Cronic came to Mercer, which is a DI, great academics, it was just an obvious perfect fit.”added the 6’3 250-pound lineman.

Both student-athletes would express their sense of feeling at home while on campus in Macon and how it played a role in their commitment. 

“It makes all the difference. You’re going to still be close to home, but you’re going to still have that home feel because of the people on that team that you know,” said Bacon.

“Me and my grandma, we were talking about it, thinking about it the whole time. The visit was a very home-y visit. It felt like home when I was there. It was a great experience.” cited Bacon regarding his official visit.

Being from the state of Georgia and establishing a plethora of relations across the region, coach Drew Cronic had his eye’s set on the pair of Golden Isles athletes since his last coaching stint at Lenoir-Rhyne.

Cronic cited his familiarity with Glynn Academy head coach Rocky Hidalgo, stating that “We’ve been able to get a couple of kids from his school and they’re all good and hardworking guys”

Coach Cronic spoke very highly on the latest coastal Georgia prospects to join his program as well.

“Byron Bacon is a hard-hitting safety. We really wanted to add some depth in the secondary and feel like we will be able to do that with Byron being a guy that can fly around, make plays, and be able to tackle,” he told the Southern Pigskin Radio Network.

“Jordan Swain is a guy who can play both sides of the ball up front. He runs very well. He’s a high academic kid who will get up here and get bigger and stronger. He can be an edge guy, he can bump into a three-technique, and he can even be a guy that moves to guard on offense down the road if we needed him too” Cronic added.

With versatility being an obvious characteristic in both athletes, Cronic expects the duo to be able to make an impact in multiple phases of the game. In terms of preparation, neither prospect is shying away from the task.

“Everybody’s working, so I’m doing my part weight training, speed drills, and all type of drills. I’m also doing the field events in track, so just investing in myself, continuing to invest in myself. I’m gaining some weight, some muscle, rather, not just weight, but… Just staying in shape, staying in good health” stated Swain

It’s now a new chapter for the Bears and  the pair of Golden Isles prospects that have decided to further their academic and athletic endeavors in Macon. With Cronic settling in at Mercer, the future of this program and his latest recruitment class are in good hands.

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