4-star DB Tre’ Swilling became Georgia Tech’s 12th commitment in its 2017 class when he committed to the Yellow Jackets on the evening of August 22nd — just four days after 4-star DB Gentry Bonds’ commitment on August 18th. Swilling stands at 6’0”, weighs in at 185 pounds, and comes to Georgia Tech from Brother Martin High School in New Orleans, LA. (As a cornerback, his height and length will be majorly beneficial.) He committed to Georgia Tech over offers from Alabama, LSU, USC, and several other Power-5 programs. He’s rated a 4-star prospect by Rivals (5.8), a 3-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite (0.8752), and is universally considered one of the top prospects to sign with Georgia Tech in this class.
As many are aware, Tre’ is the son of Georgia Tech and New Orleans Saints legend Pat Swilling. Along with his brother, Bruce, and T.D. Roof, Tre’ is one of three legacies in this recruiting class for the Yellow Jackets.
Also noteworthy about Swilling is that his commitment to Georgia Tech kicked off his own personal recruiting efforts — he was notoriously one of the Yellow Jackets’ biggest recruiters from within the recruiting class, and had a hand in several other commitments to the class. We’ll always look at the coaches when evaluating the team’s recruiting efforts from year-to-year, but highly-rated players getting involved and recruiting other targets is an underrated boost that always helps in building (and retaining) strong classes. I’ll also note that his engaging personality is indicative of a guy who figures to be a future leader among his teammates in the locker room.
Swilling’s highlights give fans a lot to be excited about regarding his ability to contribute over the next few years. (Although the highlights embedded above are somewhat limited, his Hudl page gives a bit more of a larger sample size to supplement.) From his highlights, Swilling is all-around excellent in coverage. He shows off top-notch ball skills, athleticism, and instincts. Watch how well he does at breaking on passes, reading quarterbacks, creating interceptions, and batting down passes — even after receivers have gotten their hands on them. He even shows some good physicality to break up passes as well.
The biggest thing that Swilling’s highlights lack are samples of him playing in press coverage. That’s not something that Georgia Tech’s defense does with a huge level of regularity, and it’s also not to say that it’s something he couldn’t do — his size, athleticism, footwork, and occasional displays of physicality suggest to me that it’s something he could be very good at. Still, we don’t have a lot of examples of him doing it, so time will tell on whether it’s a strength of his or not.
What to Expect
After several transfers have ravaged Georgia Tech’s depth at corner — leaving them with only 4 true corners on the roster between Step Durham, Lance Austin, Lamont Simmons, and Ajani Kerr — there should be opportunities for at least one freshman to see playing time in 2017 between defense and special teams. It’s unclear at this point who that would be, and Jaytlin Askew will have an advantage after enrolling early and participating in spring practice. That said, Swilling’s size and skill set make him more of a fit as a boundary corner (confirmed in this interview), while the smaller & quicker Askew and Dameon Williams probably fit better as field corners. To me, that means that playing time might depend more on where it’s needed on defense, or who contributes most on special teams. Either way, Swilling’s physical capabilities are such that he’ll be squarely in the competition for playing time in fall camp.
Long term, Swilling projects as a multi-year starter as a boundary corner. With Step Durham set to graduate following the 2017 season, and with Lamont Simmons graduating a year later, the Jackets will spend the 2017 season (and potentially beyond) searching for more of a long-term solution for that spot. My guess is that it goes to Swilling, but time will have to tell.
Lastly, I feel like I should include this. Perhaps it’s an unfair comparison that leads to unreasonable expectations, but between his play style and personality, I’m really reminded of D.J. White. Not only was White one of the top cornerbacks in the ACC over his final couple of seasons, but he was also a team captain in his senior season. Swilling’s physical gifts and personality are such that he has the opportunity to make a similarly positive impact on Georgia Tech’s football team. It’s going to be a joy watching him on the Flats.