PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon defensive back Jamal Hill and defensive end Bradyn Swinson grew up in different towns outside of Atlanta. However, they both lived about the same distance away — half an hour — from Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Another thing they both have in common? They’ve never played in the lavish arena.
That ends on Saturday.
“It means the world. I ain’t going to lie,” Georgia native Jamal Hill, a Rex, said about playing in the ATL. “When I was getting recruited, Coach Cristobal was like, ‘If you give me four years, you get to come home and have a homecoming game.’ As soon as he said that I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s over with, I’m going. I’m going to Oregon.’ I’ve been thinking about this game since the day I signed.”
The same can be said for Swinson in terms of dreaming about this matchup. However, for Swinson, this matchup is also personal.
“Coming back around to see these teams, it just means a lot more,” said Swinson, who hails from Douglasville, Georgia. “That’s what I just keep in the back of my head. These are the teams that looked over me. These are the teams that felt like there was someone else better than me. So, when we get there on gameday, I hope [they] still feel the same.”
You can tell by both Hill and Swinson’s words that they are ready for this contest. Perhaps even more telling, you could actually see how ready they were during Oregon’s media day.
“There’s something about them big games that just feels different. It’s always something about them that feels different. Last year it just felt different, so I know we’re going to come in different this year,” Swinson said as a reporter noted that he was physically sweating while answering questions about the contest. “I’m just thinking about it right now. It’s got me getting amped up for it right now.”
Meanwhile, Hill said he can’t really put the feeling into words.
“That’s why I’m kind of just fidgety because I wish it was here tomorrow,” Hill said. “You know what I’m saying, [we’re going to] see.”
For the most part, the duo is looking forward to the game, but there is one thing that is stressing them out.
“If anybody got extra tickets, please come holla at me. Please,” Hill said.
With a sigh, Swinson said he’s also trying to get more tickets.
“I’m trying to get that handled,” he said. “That’s a lot going on right now. I’m trying to get that handled.”