The Citadel practices at River Bluff High School

By Thomas Grant Jr.

For River Bluff High School graduates Cooper Johns, Tyson Trottier and Drew Beard, Saturday’s visit with The Citadel was a “Homecoming”.

The Gator trio was back in “The Swamp” Saturday with the Bulldogs’ football team which held their 11th spring practice session.

The Citadel went through various drills and scrimmages as it heads into Saturday’s Spring Game at 1 p.m. at Johnson Hagood Stadium in Charleston.

Following the 2-hour session, the coaches and players held a meet and greet lunch with the public.

The arrangement was made possible through River Bluff athletics director C. Blair Hardin, an alumni of The Citadel, and his “great relationship” with the school, according to Lexington School District One Athletics Director Chad Leaphart. “According to Bulldogs’ head coach Maurice Drayton, a scheduling conflict prompted a move from Charleston to Lexington.

 “It was a great opportunity for Lexington One to show off the facility and a great opportunity for The Citadel to build their brand in the Midlands,” Leaphart said. “It was also a great opportunity for our prospects to see The Citadel football up close.”

Other local players on The Citadel roster include quarterbacks Graeson Underwood (Dutch Fork) and Brian Hand (Westwood), linebackers Tanner Johnson (Lexington), running back and Blythewood native Saul Diaz and defensive back C.J. Meetze (Gilbert).

The Citadel opens the regular season with an in-town road game against rival Charleston Southern on Aug. 31. The Bulldogs then play their home opener Sept. 7 against South Carolina State, followed by a matchup with Mercer Sept. 14 at Johnson C. Hagood Stadium.

Photo by Thomas Grant Jr. – The Citadel running back Cooper Johns, a River Bluff graduate, takes the handoff during Saturday’s practice.