February 17, 2012

MY TAKE: On Tyrone Swoopes ...

Just got done watching a bunch of film on Tryone Swoopes and there's NO question the 6-5, 220-pound prospect is electric with the ball in his hands and looks like he's toying with the 2A talent he goes up against at Whitewright.

It appears he has the tools, however, to do the same thing in the Big 12.

You talk to people who have evaluated Swoopes, and it appears he's a leader with solid character, strong charisma and interesting bloodlines.

You watch the film, and Swoopes is overpowering as a runner - speed, vision, athleticism. Like Vince Young, he sets up runs like a running back. And at Class 2A Whitewright, he didn't NEED to pass. He could take a peek at the receiver, scan the defense, then look to see if there was a crease and take off running.

His numbers last season back that up - 2,267 yards rushing (with a staggering 13.1 ypc average) and 29 TDs on the ground. Swoopes threw for 1,394 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The hardest part of being a passing quarterback at 6-foot-5 and still developing physically in high school are the lower body mechanics:

Getting the hips turned toward the target, transferring the weight to the front foot to making an accurate throw. There's a lot of work that needs to be done there with Swoopes.

But he appears to be coachable. You listen to those who have been around Swoopes, and they love his attitude and work ethic.

He also comes from a strong family. His mother was the valedictorian of Whitewright high school back in the day, and she works as the town's junior high coordinator and as a coach.

He is the nephew of former Texas Tech and Houston Comets great hoopster Sheryl Swoopes. And his grandmother is also a teacher at the high school.So there is a lot of importance placed on academics, family and hard work.

People are going to make comparisons between Swoopes and Vince Young, Cam Newton and Tyrelle Pryor because of the size.

I talked to former Texas recruiting coordinator Randy Rodgers, who runs a scouting service on Texas high school talent for colleges across the country (randyrodgersrecruiting.com).

Rodgers said Swoopes reminds him right now of Pryor "because his throwing motion and accuracy is fairly inconsistent. But he certainly runs like Vince (Young). Vince never looked like he was running fast. Tryone looks like he's running fast and goes about 4.5 in the 40."

Rodgers compares Swoopes' toughness to Newton, however, because of the way Swoopes has played safety at Whitewright.

"There's enough tape on Tyrone as a sophomore at safety to show that he's a fierce hitter," Rodgers said. "He's a tough kid. He and Ricky Seals-Jones are two guys I think could play about five different positions at the Division I level.

"When Tryone Swoopes walks on campus, Duane Akina will want to see him at free safety; they'll want to see him at outside linebacker and rushing the passer; Bruce Chambers will want to see him at tight end; Darrell Wyatt will want to see him at receiver," Rodgers said. "He's got the athletic ability, toughness and speed to play all those spots."

Rodgers said he thinks Swoopes would probably benefit from a redshirt in 2013 "unless the Texas fans are so vociferous they force Mack to put him in a game before he's ready." (We all know VY benefited from redshirting as a freshman.)

With the signing of 6-3, dual-threat QB Jalen Overstreet of Tatum in the class of 2012 and now with Tyrone Swoopes committed in the class of 2013, it could easily be surmised that Texas is headed back to the same zone running scheme UT used with Vince Young to win a national title.

"That's clearly the direction they want to go," Rodgers said. "In a couple years, I can see Texas going back to the gun with the quarterback making as many plays with his feet as he does with his arm."

Time will tell. But if Swoopes can continue to mature both mentally and physically over the next 18 months, there could be some very exciting times in store for Texas.

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