After a grown-up decision, West twins will go separate ways
By Steve Williams
West High’s talented football twins, Brayden and Cayden Latham, have always played on the same team, but that will change this coming season.
Brayden, a running back, and Cayden, a defensive back, recently signed college scholarships after helping lead the Rebels to the Class 5A state championship in December.
Brayden will be going to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, while Cayden will be headed off to the University of Virginia at Wise in southwest Virginia.
Prior to making their college choices, Brayden said, “We definitely talked about (playing at different schools versus playing at the same school). It came down to where it might not be the best decision to go to the same college. We both had better opportunities at different places.”
As far as the initial wishes of their mom, EuGenie Latham, “She definitely wanted us to go to the same college and she would move to where we went,” said Brayden. “But that just didn’t work out and didn’t happen. She’s definitely fine with us going and doing our own thing now.
“It will be the first time we’ve been apart for so long, but we’ve built up each other for years. We’ll be perfectly fine with each of us on our own. We’ll both know how to compete and do all the things we need to do.”
And as far as the twins keeping in touch, Cayden pointed out: “I’ll text him about every day and see how he’s doing, checking in on football and grades, just making sure he doesn’t slack.”
EuGenie said it was a hard decision for her boys, “but we sat down and discussed it as a family. We just came up with the conclusion that they are individuals, their own person and they need to do what’s best for them.”
She said it was true that she first wanted her boys to go to the same college and she would move there. “I absolutely did because they’ve been together for their whole lives,” her voice trembling with emotion. “I just couldn’t see them without each other.”
In the end, it was like they were making a grown-up decision.
“Absolutely,” said EuGenie, “Yes, it’s time to make mature decisions and decisions that you think are best for your life. I’m not always going to be here, so I need them to trust themselves.”
The football mom and No. 1 fan that she is, EuGenie already has a Plan B and it includes her older son, Trae, who will be playing his senior season at North Greenville University in South Carolina and has two more years of eligibility.
“One week I’ll go to Cayden’s game, the next week I’ll go to Trae’s game and the week after that I’ll go to Brayden’s game,” she said. “And then start over again.
“I’ve always been there every game. They know when I’m there from my shouting. They know my voice.”
The Latham twins grew up in Oxford, Ala., until moving to Knoxville their eighth grade year.
“Family” brought them to Tennessee, said their mother. “The family needed us, so we answered the call.”
Big brother Trae, 23, went to high school in Oxford. He plays center and guard at North Greenville. He’ll graduate in December.
Trae got to go to the twins’ state championship game in Chattanooga and said he watched every game of their season on Diamond Media, whether his own game was at home or on the road.
He also was in attendance at their signing and is very proud of his younger brothers.
“Just to see them in this position to be able to do it the right way, because I wasn’t able to sign for a scholarship when I was a senior,” he said. “I was a preferred walk-on. But for them to be able to do that, that just makes me happy. It’s a pretty big win for the Latham family.”