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Football: Meet the Recruits 2017 - Bruce Jordan-Swilling

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Tech’s top-rated recruit is set to carry on the family legacy at linebacker

Georgia Tech Athletics

Recruitment

If securing Tre Swilling's commitment was a victory for the coaching staff, landing his brother as well was an absolute coup. Consensus four-star prospect Bruce Jordan-Swilling, a running back/linebacker from Brother Martin HS in New Orleans and (like Tre) the son of Tech linebacker legend Pat Swilling, announced his commitment to Tech on August 23, 2016, and became the 13th player in Tech's 2017 class. Jordan-Swilling, who stands at 6-foot-1 and 209 pounds, ended up being the top-rated recruit in the class on both Rivals (5.8 - tied with three others) and 247Sports (.9150).

Jordan-Swilling chose Tech over a long list of reported offers from big-name schools, which included Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, and USC. There was a bit of drama late in his recruitment, as he had official visits to USC and Baylor scheduled for the final two weekends before signing day (after his official visit to Tech on January 13). However, he announced on January 19 that he was done with visits, effectively sealing his commitment to Tech.

Football aside, Jordan-Swilling's personal journey is a powerful story that's well worth the read for any Tech fan. Given where he was just a few years ago, the simple fact that he will be graduating from high school and enrolling at Tech in a few months is a massive success story. With luck, it will simply be the first of many for the New Orleans native as he begins his college career.

Film Review

Jordan-Swilling's film includes very few clips of him actually playing linebacker. This is partly because most schools were recruiting him as a running back and partly because, well... his running back film is just that good. Jordan-Swilling is a well-rounded back who shows plenty of power and acceleration; one highlight sees him breaking two or three tackles for extra yards, and the next sees him putting on a burst of speed to reach the second level and then outrunning the entire defense for a touchdown. He would be an intriguing B-back prospect if Tech ever decided to give him a look in the offensive backfield.

As it stands, he's entrenched at linebacker, and his athleticism should translate well on that side of the ball. Focusing on his linebacker play in his film (there are a few highlights starting at the 5:00 mark, but overall we're drawing from a very small sample), one of Jordan-Swilling's strengths seems to be his ability to disengage from blockers and pursue the ballcarrier. It may stem from his ability to break tackles as a running back, but regardless, it's a very useful skill for a young linebacker to have. He'll need to work on wrapping up the ballcarrier securely when making a tackle, but he does seem to show a tendency to try to wrap up instead of trying to simply knock down his target, and that is another plus.

Again, it's a limited sample size, so it's hard to draw any sweeping conclusions about Jordan-Swilling as a linebacker. Even if he needs time to refine his technique, though, his combination of speed and strength make him one of the most promising linebacker prospects Tech has had in years.

Outlook

With starter Brant Mitchell returning at MLB, Terrell Lewis and David Curry returning at weakside OLB, and junior Victor Alexander primed to step in at strongside OLB, it’s unlikely that Jordan-Swilling earns a starting job right out of the gate. That said, he may well be the most athletic linebacker on the roster as soon as he sets foot on campus, and it will not be a surprise in the least if he cracks the two-deep as a true freshman. Strongside OLB would seem to be his most likely destination, so expect him to push Alexander for playing time and at least earn a spot in the rotation.

His immediate competition for playing time will come from a few reserves who have had quiet careers to date: Tre Jackson, Tyler Cooksey, and Jakob Brashear. Jackson and Cooksey in particular have been around for long enough that their experience with defensive coordinator Ted Roof’s system could give them an edge, but Jordan-Swilling has the advantage over all three in speed and athleticism. Tech also has two other incoming freshmen at linebacker in TD Roof and Jaquan Henderson, but Roof is likely to redshirt and Henderson should end up at weakside OLB, where he would not be competing with Jordan-Swilling or Roof for playing time.

Whether it’s one or two (or zero) years from now, Jordan-Swilling seems like a sure bet to become a starter at linebacker. The only thing that could hold him back is if he’s slow to pick up the defensive scheme, but Roof’s defense tends to lean on simple calls that allow players to act more freely, and that will play in Jordan-Swilling’s favor. Once he finally cracks the starting lineup, he has serious star potential.