Hello, From the Rumble Seat! My name is Jake Grant and I am the newest writer here at FTRS. I am a current Georgia Tech mechanical engineering student, and, like most of you, a huge fan of the Yellow Jackets, albeit a newer one, as I am originally from Chicago (introduced to it by this guy, who went to my high school). Of course, I love football and basketball, but you can always catch me at Russ Chandler Stadium for baseball or the McAuley Aquatic Center for swimming as well. I’m eager to be a part of it and thanks for reading. Go Jackets!
Countdown to Kickoff: 75 Days
As our 100 Days to Kickoff series rolls on, this week we’ll be taking a look at players you haven’t seen before, but will want to know about going into the 2017 season. All of these players come into the season with little to no experience at the college level, but tons of potential to make an impact on the field this fall for the Yellow Jackets.
DB Tre’ Swilling | Freshman | 6-0, 180 pounds | New Orleans, LA
Sometimes, a program strikes a superlative talent. Swilling has been called a program changer and a dominant force in all the right ways. A defensive anchor.
These things, of course, were said about Tre’ Swilling’s father, Pat. As every Tech fan of a certain age remembers, Pat was a linebacker for Tech’s stout defense known as the “Black Watch,” along with some guys named Ted Roof and Todd Stansbury. At Georgia Tech, football is a family affair. Everyone knows this name.
Here in 2017, Swilling was rated 4 stars by Rivals. He committed despite having offers from a plethora of other Power-5 programs, including Alabama and LSU. Although 247 Sports cites former quarterbacks coach Bryan Cook as having been his lead recruiter, it is safe to say this was a family affair. Swilling is just one of three legacies returning to the Flats to play for defensive coordinator Ted Roof, along with his brother, Bruce Jordan-Swilling, and T.D. Roof. Georgia Tech not only gained a highly-touted football player, but a versatile athlete, having commanded a shooting guard position on his high school basketball team as well.
High School Recap
Swilling’s list of accolades befits a highly-ranked recruit. As it stands, he will be a true freshman this fall; he is still a work in progress, inevitably. However, weight can be put on in the gym. Drilling the defense can be done in practice. These are teachable, improvable aspects of play. Most striking while watching Swilling’s tapes are his intangibles. He’s a pretty big player compared to the other high schoolers, but his reads of the quarterback, coverage, and instincts will serve him well on Tech’s secondary. A lot can be said for being the biggest, tallest guy on the field, but this freshman’s physicality combined with his knowledge of the game are superb. Swilling doesn’t lack for making plays.
Like most recruits, Swilling just arrived on campus for summer workouts, so we have yet to see him take the field in white and gold. However, playing a position, cornerback, with a rotation thinned by transfers, he should earn experience right away this fall. While Lance Austin, Step Durham, Lamont Simmons, and Ajani Kerr return from last year’s team as true corners, Austin, Durham, and Simmons are upperclassmen. Swilling is a viable long-term solution at a cornerback spot. Of course, this is no guarantee, but with his innate talent and future growth, in four years, it is easy to envision him as a team leader, an anchor of the Jackets’ defense. It’s a cliché that “Character Counts,” but, in sports, it is a market inefficiency that cannot be understated: character plays an outstanding role in player development. Leadership qualities are not coincidental. The Institute prides itself in creating successful graduates. Just like his father, who is served in Louisiana state government and is a respected businessman (along with an NFL veteran), Swilling has the potential to be a great well-rounded Tech alumni. Already being used to woo new recruits, Tech will benefit immensely if he is half the leader coverage portrays him to be.
Since Austin and Durham return, he finds himself in the desirable position of only needing to break into the rotation. Fortunately, the burdens of defense will not weigh only on the shoulders of a true freshman. In Austin, Durham, and Simmons, he has role models to emulate. This will be primarily a development-focused season for the guy donning jersey #3 (an appropriate number for a fellow who goes by Tre’), not one where he is pressed into being a marquee player. It may be premature to put him on billboards or the nifty schedule posters formerly graced by Justin Thomas, but, barring catastrophic injury, he will be a solid contributor this season, especially around the end of the year, with time to grow into his role.
As mentioned, three of Tech’s four current corners graduate within the next two years. This presents an opportunity to seize a starting role on the defense for the foreseeable future. The nature of college football is constant; every team fights attrition as players graduate. Someday, that will be Swilling, too. In the meantime, the tall, physical cornerback is a born athlete. His future is bright. In time, we’ll all be glad he came.
Cheers to Tre’ Swilling, and welcome to the Flats.