When Georgia kick off their 2019 College Football season at Vanderbilt, it will be almost three years to the day that D’Andre Swift committed to the Bulldogs. On that September day, he announced his decision in grand style. Now, he’s ready to announce himself as the next great Georgia running back.
As a 4 star recruit out of St. Joseph’s Prep, Philadelphia, D’Andre Swift was heavily recruited. Coming off the back of a 2016 season where he was named 2016 Pennsylvania Football Writers All-State player of the year, he had the choice of multiple top colleges. The final five included Alabama, Clemson, Penn State and FSU but Swift headed to Athens, Georgia.
With Nick Chubb and Sony Michel already in place, it was a bold choice to make.
However, Swift quickly showed he could run with the big dogs.
In his freshman season, he appeared in all 15 games and began to showcase the skill set that is set to make him one of the most exciting running backs to watch in 2019. His performances earned him a spot on the Coaches Freshman All-SEC team.
In 2018, with Chubb and Michel departed to the NFL, Swift split playing time with Elijah Holyfield. Despite sharing carries it was Swift who lead the team in rushing yards. After a lukewarm start to the year, a three game stretch as October turned to November would set the pace for expectations in 2019. First Florida, then Kentucky and finally Auburn would be trampled over by D’Andre Swift.
The Gators found themselves on the losing end of 104 rushing yards and a touchdown, as Georgia won 36-17. A career high 156 yards and two touchdowns derailed a Kentucky team having a fairy tale season. However, D’Andre Swift saved his best for the Auburn Tigers. The Tigers were already far too familiar with Swift after the 2017 SEC Championship game. His 64 yard touchdown run had ended the scoring as Georgia won 28-7.
The 2018 clash between the two would be the ultimate showcase of D’Andre Swift’s capabilities.
He set new career highs as Georgia ran out 27-10 winners. Swift ended the day with 186 yards off 17 carries and added another 43 yards off 4 receptions. As he had done in the SEC Championship game, Swift ended the scoring with a touchdown run. This time it was a 77 yarder to the house which encapsulated everything that makes him an incredible talent.
Taking the hand off from Jake Fromm on 2nd and 12, Swift took advantage of a big hole in the line to the right. Having burst through the hole, he quickly changed direction to the left to avoid a tackle and set off down field. A shimmy in the open field left another defender trailing in his wake before finally his pace helped him evade a final tackle attempt on his way to the end zone.
He is truly Swift by name, Swift by nature.
With a reported 4.43 40 yard dash time, and a history in track racing, there are not many defensive players who can stop him once he’s in full stride. It isn’t just his overall speed, however. His quick footed ability to change direction in an instant makes him an incredibly elusive back to bring down. He also brings an extra threat out of the backfield. There are not many better receiving backs in college football than D’Andre Swift. Georgia offensive coordinator, Coach Coley, has been putting in extra receiving work for Swift during practices. With top receiver, Mecole Hardman, leaving to the NFL at the end of last year, expect Swift to have a more prominent pass catching role in 2019.
It’s amazing to consider that D’Andre Swift’s 2018 season came despite not being fully healthy. He was plagued by foot and groin injuries throughout the year. It’s a testament to his mental fortitude and desire to succeed. His spring training schedule has seen him focus on a return to full health.
With full health, and the number one running back for the Bulldogs in 2019, D’Andre Swift is set to run all over the SEC conference. All roads lead to New Orleans for the 2020 College Football National Championship. It could be the final stop on a college football journey that started on the streets of Philadelphia nearly three years ago.
Feature Image Credit: Steffenie Burns (UGA)