Sweet Water alum Chris Landrum signs with San Diego Chargers

Chris Landrum works against fellow Sweet Water alum Ty Morgan during a 2014 matchup between Jacksonville State and UWA.

Chris Landrum works against fellow Sweet Water alum Ty Morgan during a 2014 matchup between Jacksonville State and UWA.

Sweet Water High School alum Chris Landrum kept his dream alive following the NFL Draft Saturday when he agreed to terms with the San Diego Chargers.

“It was an exciting time. It was something that I have wanted since I was a kid. And 20-odd years later, it comes true,” Landrum, who also had contact with the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans, said of the opportunity. “You also know, at the same time, you have to work to stay in the position you’re in to make the 53-man roster. You have to put the work in to get better each day. The grind never stops. Now it’s back to work. I had one day of celebrating, but it’s back to work now.”

Chris Landrum won four state championships while playing for Sweet Water High School. He now is a member of the San Diego Chargers.

Chris Landrum won four state championships while playing for Sweet Water High School. He now is a member of the San Diego Chargers.

A member of the Sweet Water High School Class of 2011, Landrum starred as a defensive end for Jacksonville State for the last three seasons following a transfer from Auburn. Landrum earned All-America honors following a senior season in which he recorded 64 tackles including 19 tackles for lost and 8.5 sacks.

Despite the move from the bright lights of the SEC following his redshirt freshman season at Auburn, Landrum said he never lost sight of his goal to play in the National Football League.

“It was always there for me. I knew that if you can play, they’ll find you no matter where you are,” Landrum, who won four state championships while a member of the Sweet Water program, said. “At the same time, I also knew that the NFL is not promised to anybody. Some of the best athletes in the world that wanted to pursue the game of football never made it. You just have to pray and hope that’s what God has planned for you. At the same time, I knew I had to get an education wherever I went, make sure I graduated and make sure that, if football didn’t work out, I’d be fine also.”

Landrum made good on his educational goals, earning an undergraduate degree in Human Resource Management. He is also lacking only his internship before earning his master’s degree in management. With that internship indefinitely on hold, Landrum is now squarely focused upon working his way into the Chargers’ 2016 plans.

Jacksonville State Gamecocks defensive lineman Chris Landrum signed with the San Diego Chargers Saturday.

Jacksonville State Gamecocks defensive lineman Chris Landrum signed with the San Diego Chargers Saturday.

“I talked to them on my Pro Day and they basically told me the opportunity that I had to play there, what they look like at the position I’m at and the special teams opportunity that I would have. I just felt like that was the best fit for me in their defense,” Landrum said. “It’s kind of a rush end position, outside linebacker. I’d have to drop in coverage. I’m comfortable doing that also. I played linebacker at Auburn and I dropped some in coverage at Jacksonville. I’m comfortable doing both. I think it’s going to be more of a rush end position.”

Listed as a 6-3, 260 pounder, Landrum was a crucial member of the Jacksonville State defense in 2015, earning All-OVC honors while helping lead the Gamecocks to the Division I Football Championship Game in Frisco, Texas. He leaves Jacksonville State as the school record holder with 39.5 tackles for loss, 162 yards lost from tackles and 16 sacks.

“Just to go in and help the team,” Landrum said of his immediate goals. “I feel like I can go in and help the team pass rush and be a big help to the team on special teams also, contributing in ways that can help the San Diego Chargers get close to winning a championship.”

Landrum is married (Bria) and has a 2-year-old son, Christopher Landrum Sr. He is the son of Roosevelt and Jacqueline Landrum.