Quar­ter­back to get early start at UT

An early start at Texas could prove ben­e­fi­cial for both him and the Longhorns.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By­J­eff Howe Hookem.com RALPH BARRERA / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Ty­rone Swoopes, a 6-foot-4inch ath­lete who is ex­pected to play quar­ter­back for the Texas Longhorns, plans to en­roll in Jan­uary and par­tic­i­pate in the team’s spring drills.

Why pro­long the in­evitable? That’s ul­ti­mately what Ty­rone Swoopes asked him­self be­fore de­cid­ing to en­roll early at Texas and be on cam­pus in time for the spring se­mes­ter of school and, more im­por­tantly for Longhorns spring foot­ball.

Swoopes — Whitewright’s 6-foot-4, 225-pound ath­lete who’s ex­pected to play quar­ter­back at Texas — wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily in­tend­ing on play­ing bas­ket­ball, go­ing to the prom and kick­ing back for the rest of the school year.

He had been con­tem­plat­ing get­ting to Austin in Jan­uary for a while, and just needed a lit­tle ex­tra as­sur­ance — from his mother, fa­ther and coaches — that it was the right di­rec­tion.

“Some­times, you have to do what you have to do,” Swoopes said.

He’ll be one four early en­rollees this spring for the Longhorns, along with Celina two-way line­man Jake Raul-

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Texas vs. Ore­gon State, 5:45 p.m. Satur­day, Alam­od­ome, ESPN, 1300, 98.1

er­son, Hous­ton Cy­press Woods line­backer Deoundrei Davis and Butte (Calif.) Col­lege tight end Ge­off Swaim.

The No. 19-ranked prospect in the Amer­i­canS­tates­man’s Fab­u­lous 55 will be the youngest of five schol­ar­ship quar­ter­backs when he ar­rives. Still, he isn’t plan­ning on stand­ing idly by and watch­ing from the side­line.

“I saw David (Ash) got hurt a cou­ple of times this year, and I’m not say­ing any­body else wouldn’t have got­ten hurt, but I want to be ready if it does hap­pen,” Swoopes said. “I’m not go­ing to col­lege to play any­thing else, so in­stead of just stay­ing home the whole school year and play­ing bas­ket­ball, I fig­ured I should start do­ing foot­ball as soon as pos­si­ble.”

His se­nior sea­son fell well short of ex­pec­ta­tions. Swoopes bat­tled a ham­string in­jury, com­pleted 42 per­cent of his passes for 873 yards, nine touch­downs and two in­ter­cep­tions, and Whitewright went 1-9.

“Peo­ple are go­ing to say what they want,” Swoopes said. “One guy can’t do it all by him­self. When the team loses, ev­ery­body loses. I’m not the only one los­ing, just like if we were win­ning it wouldn’t be all be­cause of me. It’s a team ef­fort.”

And he’s still well aware of those who say he’ll never be a ca­pa­ble quar­ter­back at the Di­vi­sion I level. That’s an­other rea­son why he’s ea­ger to ar­rive and get him­self es­tab­lished.

“As a com­peti­tor, when some­body tells you can’t do some­thing, you want to prove you can,” Swoopes said. “I just love to play foot­ball and play and com­pete with other guys.”

With the Longhorns hav­ing gone through a stretch as a pro­gram with a 21-16 record over the past three sea­sons, there’s pres­sure on Swoopes to help bring the Longhorns back to the top of the col­lege foot­ball moun­tain­top. There’s also pres­sure on Swoopes to prove his worth to make a re­cruit­ing class cur­rently ranked as the 20th-best in the na­tion by 247Sports a success.

Tie ev­ery­thing to­gether, and it’s cre­ated some un­rea­son­able ex­pec­ta­tions. De­spite the im­prove­ments Ash made from his fresh­man to his sopho­more year, fans seem des­per­ate for a dif­fer­ence maker at the po­si­tion, and some see Swoopes as the an­swer.

“Peo­ple af­ter games have been tweet­ing me about they can’t wait for me to get on cam­pus,” Swoopes said. “Some­body tweeted me say­ing that I was bet­ter than Johnny Manziel. I know I’m not that close to him at all, so I al­ready see the pres­sure.”

The draw with Swoopes and why Mack Brown and the Texas of­fen­sive staff chose to make him their quar­ter­back take in this re­cruit­ing class is he’s got the abil­ity to make things go well for an of­fense. He rushed for 1,187 yards and 16 touch­downs as a se­nior. It’s fea­si­ble that Texas could have a package right off the bat for Swoopes sim­i­lar to the “Bell­dozer” set Ok­la­homa cre­ated for Blake Bell.

No mat­ter his role, Swoopes won’t be shy once he steps into the meet­ing room and on the prac­tice field this spring.

“I’m pre­pared as we speak right now,” Swoopes said. “Go­ing down there and get­ting into the sys­tem and ev­ery­thing, I just need to get used to it for when my time comes so I can be ready.”

Whitewright’s Ty­rone Swoopes (left) chats with Texas co-of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Bryan Harsin on the side­line dur­ing the Longhorns’ an­nual Or­ange-White scrim­mage in April.

Re­cruit Ty­rone Swoopes ran for 1,187 yards and 16 touch­downs as a se­nior.

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