Former Chapel Hill High defensive lineman Bradyn Swinson was finishing up his first semester of classes at the University of Oregon. He was also four days into spring football practice.
It all came to a halt when colleges started vacating their campuses because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Swinson, the Sentinel Player of the Year and Howard Thompson Award winner, had to hop on a plane to head back home to Douglas County, which spoiled his plans of getting a jumpstart on college life and football.
“I felt like I was robbed,” said Swinson, who was an early enrollee at Oregon after graduating a semester early from high school.
Under NCAA rules, a college football program can bring in some players each year as early enrollees.
It has been beneficial for freshmen to get used to campus life as it helps them learn what it’s like to be a student-athlete in college. Players are also allowed to compete in spring football practice as an early enrollee.
“I finished up high school early to get a start on football and college,” Swinson said. “It is disappointing because I was learning what it’s like to be in college. I’m only 17, so I was getting started. It was a big adjustment for me.”
Since Oregon is on the quarter system, Swinson will be taking online classes until June.
The Ducks got four spring practices in before the school shut down their athletic programs because of the pandemic.
“College football has is a lot different,” Swinson said. “It moves a lot faster. I was getting adjusted and understanding what is expected of me.”
Swinson is the third player in the last two years to take advantage of being an early enrollee. Last year, Swinson’s teammate Miles Richardson was an early enrollee at Wofford and former Douglas County High standout Mataio Soli enrolled early at Arkansas.
Both players were able to get sufficient playing time as freshmen, with Soli starting for the Razorbacks after an injury.
“It helps you a lot in getting you ready,” Richardson said. “It worked out well for me. Bradyn is a special talent. You usually need the entire time to get acclimated but I think he will be in good shape. I think he will be fine.”
Because of the different time zone, Swinson said he has had to make an adjustment to his schedule.
“If I have a question for a professor, it takes a little time to get a response from email,” Swinson said. “I think I’m getting a hang of it. It has been a little difficult.”