Now at the halfway point of his prep career, Kevin Swint bumped up from the status of freshman phenom to sophomore sensation this fall.
Where the next two years will ultimately take the Carrollton High School star linebacker remains to be seen, but it's going to be an entertaining journey, to say the least.
The Power 5 recruit experienced the exact opposite of a sophomore slump in leading the Trojans to the Class AAAAA state quarterfinals for a second-straight season, competing with a humble swagger about himself and tallying 64 takedowns with 33 assists, highlighted by 31.5 tackles for a loss, 17 sacks, four forced fumbles and 22 quarterback hurries.
Needless to say, second-year Carrollton head coach Sean Calhoun couldn't imagine a more worthy candidate for 2017 Times-Georgian All-Area Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
"He's so well-deserving of the award. To me, it extends off the field. On the field, his stats were what they were. He's such a dynamic football player, but it's what he does off the field by getting himself physically prepared for a long season and getting himself mentally prepared," Calhoun said.
For Swint, who was the 2016 Times-Georgian All-Area Co-Newcomer of the Year last fall, the second season of varsity ball was simply another opportunity to compete with his brothers in Black and Gold in pursuit of the ultimate dream of a state crown.
"I thought everything went very well. We had some ups and downs going through the season, but I think it prepared us for the playoffs and the good, little run we had," Swint said.
Even though Carrollton didn't reach the destination it was gunning for in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Swint delivered another dynamic defensive display as the young leader of the Trojan attack.
"He really started taking on a big leadership role of that defense and that's the thing that I'm most happy about. He's going to get stronger in the weight room just because he's growing up and he's physically maturing. The example that he sets in the classroom, where's he's a really good student, he's a good role model for all the youth of Trojan Nation. His leadership is awesome," Calhoun said. "I've really appreciated that from him."
Leadership was one of many areas Swint worked on during the offseason to be ready for 2017. Even though he is just a sophomore, his teammates respected and followed the 6-foot-3, 215-pound catalyst through the roller-coaster that was the 2017 campaign.
Moving forward as an upperclassmen, Swint said he's going to push his teammates to the limits to be the best they can be.
"I know the seniors pushed me as hard as I could, so that's the thing that I've been brought up on," Swint said. "I want them to give the same effort that I gave for the seniors I played for."
Looking ahead to the next two years, Swint wants to take both his individual game and team success to even greater heights before hitting the next level.
"I really want to work on hand-placement, taking on blocks and my coverage skills," said Swint, who expects to narrow down his top collegiate choices during his junior season. "I want to be very versatile. I think that's what college scouts like to see. I want to be able to pass-rush, stop the run and cover guys at the same time."
The fact that his sophomore star remains so hungry is something Calhoun said extends beyond just the gridiron.
"Here's an example of him. It's December 26th and I had to go up to the office for just a little bit in the morning and he had me open up the weight room for him. I mean, that's him," Calhoun said. "He's never going to be satisfied. I think that's the mark of a great competitor, but also just a great person in general. He's that exact same way in the classroom, too. I think the majority of that stems from his family. He has a phenomenal foundation. He has two phenomenal parents and a great role model in his older brother, who actually coaches for us. It's an honor to be around him every day and it's an honor to coach him. I'm just very, very happy for him."
Calhoun is equally excited to see what unfolds for Swint before having to hand over his long-limbed linebacker to a coach at the D-I level.
"His game is going to develop. He's going to start filling out, he's going to gain a little bit more weight and he might even get a little bit taller. Kevin's very, very fortunate, just like the rest of our defensive players. They learn the game of football from our defensive staff," Calhoun said. "(Defensive coordinator Brian) Simmons coaches the outside linebackers, coach (Red) Keith was a college linebacker. But it's just learning the little, bitty fine details about the game of football to take Kevin's game to the next level. I know Kevin's going to get there and I know he's never going to stop working toward it. So the sky's the limit for that young man."
Swint is set to compete in an all-star showcase for the Class of 2020 on Jan. 11-14 in Dallas, Texas, where he'll join forces with Team Georgia and take on Team Texas.
Looking ahead to the 2018 season, Swint said it's all about one thing for him and the Trojan defense — being the most physical unit on the field every time out.
"Every offense that we go against, we don't want any team to out-physical us," Swint said. "It's just nonstop. This is how Carrollton has came up and how the Trojans play."