Throughout most of last year, each position group had its fair share of struggles. The secondary group having the most experience and depth provided the most consistent play. Leading that group was redshirt sophomore, Tre Swilling.
His stat line for the year doesn’t seem that remarkable at first glance with only 23 tackles and a lone interception. However, it reflects well on a corner when his name is less mentioned. If a corner is leading your team in tackles then he probably isn’t doing a good job in coverage. Tre simply didn’t leave quarterbacks many opportunities to throw his way.
Though the first game against Clemson was a route, it was a fine showing for Swilling on how little separation he gives receivers. Clemson QB, Trevor Lawrence, is certainly elite but had one of the worst game passing wise of the season. Trevor targeted the receiver Swilling was covering eight times in the first half. Only two were caught for short yardage while the others were incomplete with one being intercepted and nearly taken back for a touchdown.
As soon as Trevor Lawrence receives the snap he turns to throw to the outside receiver but Tre recognizes the quick throw and jumps the route for an easy pick. Tre had a good understanding of the play design and used it here to claim one of the few interceptions Lawrence would throw all year.
If it wasn’t enough that Tre routinely puts himself in a position to make plays on passes he is also more physical than some corners. He walks the fine line of keeping the receiver off-balance without getting called for interference.
Here Swilling lines up one-on-one with Miami’s leading receiver, K.J. Osborn who appears to initially try to run by Tre but then cuts to the side. Osborn does get a small amount of separation but Tre plays the ball more aggressively and high-points the ball to deflect it out of bounds.
Much like his stat line, you won’t find many flashy highlights of Tre’s performance. Instead, it’s opposing QBs glancing in his direction only to be forced to his next read. It is the highest compliment a quarterback can give to an opposing corner when they don’t trust their receiver to win the ball.
Swilling has two years of eligibility left and should start to look by a potential NFL prospect by the end of his time at Georgia Tech. If the other pieces of the defense take a step forward this year and produce a pass rush then Tre Swilling can only get better.