By: Grace Bolin – TroyTrojans.com
Since he was a kid, Seth Calloway had two dreams in life, to be a football player or a soldier. While no one in his family prefaced him by playing football at the collegiate level, Calloway has always been surrounded by soldiers.
A long lineage of Calloway’s family has served in the armed forces. Three of his grandparents served in the Army, as well as his uncle and a few cousins. His father, Walter, served in the National Guard for 14 years, his brother, Ryan, served six years in the Army and his brother, Steven, is an active member of the Army currently stationed in Poland.
Even from across the world, the support of Calloway’s family is unwavering.
“Steven got to Poland just a few weeks ago and he had a watch party for the game against Alabama State,” Calloway said. “They all came over and streamed the game from over there. I won’t even tell you what they said about my touchdown that was called back.”
Although Calloway chose a different path out of high school, fighting for his country is still a goal of his. But before he embarks on his next adventure, he has a team counting on him on the field.
“My dad has always been a huge influence to me,” Calloway said. “He has always been the one to push me to be better than average. He has instilled in me that once you start something, you have to finish it. I’m really going to fight to finish strong this year.”
This season, Calloway made the switch from defensive tackle to defensive end, but after playing defensive end for four years in high school, it was a change he was comfortable with. He credits the guys playing next to him and great coaches for making the transition easy.
“It’s been fun because I played defensive end in high school, so it actually feels a little more natural. I have a great group of guys around me,” Calloway said. “Everyone talked about all the pressure that was on me, and I just didn’t feel it because I knew I had guys all down the line and behind me ready to make plays. Coach Bam is also really great and breaks down everything to help you learn and develop as a player. I really appreciate having him as a coach.”
The tattoos and beard might be intimidating to some, but anyone that really knows Calloway knows he is a team player in every sense of the word. When a friend needs advice and leadership on or off the field, Calloway uses his personal experiences to lend a helping hand.
“Coach Brown does an excellent job developing us into leaders,” Calloway said. “The great thing about being one of the oldest guys out there is I have made a lot of my younger mistakes that you make as a player. So now I can get a hold of the other players and maybe speed their process up so they don’t make those same mistakes. I try to mentor them the best I can.”
However, his leadership and mentorship continue long after he steps off the field on Saturday nights. This summer, Calloway was named to the Wuerffel Trophy Watch List, also known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service.”
Calloway has remained active in Troy during his time here. No matter how tough a practice or a game is that week, he makes sure to find time to volunteer in the community. Some of the organizations he is involved in include the Christian Love Center, Boys and Girls Club, Relay for Life and, of course, Troy for Troops. Regardless of if his name is called as the recipient of the award, Calloway has made a lasting impact on friends he mentors on and off the field.
After earning a start in the final three games of the season last year, Calloway made sure to make his hard work pay off. He finished the 2016 season with 30 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss, while recording three quarterback hurries and three pass break ups from his defensive line position. He also turned heads in the Dollar General Bowl as he recovered a fumble, broke up a pass that led to an interception and recorded a tackle for loss in Troy’s victory over Ohio.
Although he returns to the field for his senior season in a new position, his role as the level-headed and hard-nosed veteran on the team remains the same. He uses his own experiences and words of wisdom from those around him to build each of his teammates up to produce the best outcome possible on the field.
The balance of getting everyone pumped up for a game and also making sure his teammates don’t get too emotional on the field didn’t always come easy for Calloway. But as he matured on and off the field, and with the help of his coaches, Calloway makes sure the energy on the sideline is right where it needs to be.
“In practice you are calm and you can think clearly,” Calloway said. “But in a game, it is easy to get too amped up and overthink every play. That’s when players start making mistakes on the field. Towards the end of last year, I finally started catching on to that. I’m the one in the locker room listening to classic rock and country music before the game to stay in a calm mindset. It’s all about having fun.”
With a criminal justice degree already in hand, Calloway looks to finish his time at Troy by having fun on the field with his brothers. Winning a conference championship would be icing on the cake to a great football career. Calloway has many options when his time at Troy comes to an end, but for right now, football is the only focus.
“I want to try out for the NFL of course and keep playing, but if not, joining the military has always been a goal of mine,” Calloway said. “My parents keep something on the fridge from elementary school. We had to write what we wanted to do when we grew up. Mine says play football and be a soldier, I’ve already accomplished one of those things.”
The military holds a special place in Calloway’s heart. Troy’s annual Military Appreciation Day at Veterans Memorial Stadium combines two of his favorite things, his love for football and his passion and patriotism for his country.
“(That) game means a lot to me,” Calloway said. “Growing up around the military and seeing what they have done and sacrificed, and knowing friends through my brothers that haven’t been able to come back home or come back injured, I know and understand the sacrifices they have made for me to be able to play football. It is great to have a day to honor them, but I try to honor them everyday.”