Tale of two tackles: Trojans standouts anchor defense

Actions have no choice but to speak louderthan words when it comes to Center Grove football players Cameron Tidd and Jovan Swann.

Best friends since sixth grade, the seniors are unified by physical stature (both are 6-foot-3, 265 pounds), the position they play (defensive tackle), outstanding classroom performance (Tidd holds a 3.4 grade-point average, Swann a 3.95) and soft-spoken nature.

“Get the two of them in a room and you can hear pins drop, but you’re not going to change their stripes,” Trojans coach Eric Moore said. “They’re not going to get overexcited.”

That’s not an issue for the Trojans, since the want their defensive stalwarts to dominate the line of scrimmage, not conversation — to walk the walk, not talk the talk.

Tidd had himself a summer to remember by capturing the discus title at the IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals, and shortly thereafter verbally committed to play football at Vanderbilt University.

He recorded 49.5 tackles in 2014, including 6.5 for loss.

“Tidd just makes it happen. Tidd’s a gamer and a great athlete. He’s one of those kids in school who if you’re gambling for your life to play any sport you pick him because he can do anything,” Moore said.

“He can hit a golf ball, swing a tennis racquet, play basketball or baseball, throw the shot put, throw the discus.”

Moore left out wrestling, cross country and swimming, but Tidd, whose varsity football career began at tight end as a freshman in 2012, would probably find ways to succeed in those sports, as well.

Coming off a junior season in which he produced 39 tackles and seven sacks, Swann is in the process of trying to pare his 18 Division I football offers to five by the end of the month.

The list of suitors features eight Big Ten Conference programs, including Indiana (where older brother, Mario, is a sophomore strong safety) and Purdue. Boston College, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri and North Carolina are also in the mix.

So is Vanderbilt.

“Intensity. Quickness. Very intelligent,” Moore said of Swann.

Swann admits he’s likely more talkative on the football field than his buddy. Then again, that’s not saying a whole heck of a lot.

“We’ve always been best friends. (Tidd) truly is a best friend,” said Swann, who was four-years-old when his family moved from Michigan to Johnson County.

“I can always go to him when I need something, and we’re so similar in the way we act and focus in on our goals.”

Drawn together by their similarities, there are differences in what these players bring to the Trojans’ defense.

Swann marvels at Tidd’s ability to break on the football no matter the down and distance. Tidd returns the compliment, mentioning Swann’s versatility in playing the “3” (lining up on the outside shoulder of an opposing guard) and “5” technique (outside shoulder of an opposing tackle).

“It’s his size, athleticism and knowledge of the game,” Tidd said. “Probably one of my stronger aspects is my motor and getting to the football.”

Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at mbeas@dailyjournal.net.