To break down the Tyrone Swoopes commitment, we've brought in Wescott Eberts, also know as "Ghost of Big Roy", who covers Texas football recruiting for Burnt Orange Nation, for a Q&A.
1) For Texas fans who have never heard of Swoopes before, what makes him such a highly-rated player?
To say it briefly, what makes Swoopes such a fantastic prospect and high school star is his elite athleticism/size combination. He's 6-5, 220 pounds and could play close to 240 in college without losing his quickness. Recently, he caused something of a stir in internet circles when he dunked on star 2013 basketball prospect Julius Randle, one of the top players in the country in his age group. It's safe to say that the athleticism he displays on the basketball court translate to the football field as well, as he has deceptive speed for his size and is similar to Vince Young in that he can use his exceptional balance to break tackles in the open field.
2) He's obviously an incredible athlete. How are is his passing skills right now?
There are some differing thoughts on Swoopes as a passer right now. The guys over at 247Sports think that he's pretty raw and that's not really an unfair assessment, but for me, what really matters is that even though his release is a bit low and, again, looks quite a bit like Vince Young's throwing motion, he has the arm strength, can spin the ball well, and shows evidence of being accurate, though he's a bit inconsistent at this point. Basically, the tools are there, in spades, so Swoopes just needs a little bit of coaching and polish.
Whenever I think about him as a passer, I go back to one of the only highlights that was available of his sophomore season way back last spring on Maxpreps. Swoopes rolled out of the pocket to his right under pressure and uncorked a bullet downfield 60 yards on the air that his receiver made a diving grab on. It wasn't quite perfectly on target -- his receiver would have had an easy touchdown had the throw been several inches shorter -- but it was the type of play that gave me chills at the time and convinced me that Swoopes was a big-time, big-time prospect. Sometimes all you need to see is one play and then everything else just fills in around the edges.
3) What's a realistic time-table for when he'll be able to start contributing in Austin? What are the chances he ends up being red-shirted?
I think the odds are overwhelming that Swoopes will take a redshirt year when he gets to Austin. He seems ready for it and understands that he'll probably need some time to develop in college before being ready to take over as the starting quarterback and I think that says a lot about his maturity and the fact that he doesn't have any illusions about where he is as a player right now.
As for as a timetable, I think the major jump in competition level (Whitewright is a 2A school) will cause a bit of a transition period and the depth at the position in front of him will also have a major impact. If David Ash is able to secure the job this season, it could be 2015 until Swoopes has a serious chance of competing for the job, when he would be a redshirt sophomore going against a redshirt junior in Connor Brewer, but as the Garrett Gilbert saga demonstrated, there are plenty of things that can happen between now and then that could change that projection.
4) What does his early commitment mean for the 2013 recruiting cycle?
Since Jake Raulerson has been pegged as the leader for the recruiting class -- which will be especially true on the defensive side of the ball -- I don't expect Swoopes to take on a huge leadership role, even on offense, but his friendship with Sealy WR/TE Ricky Seals-Jones could lead to a commitment from him in the coming days. And, of course, it always helps offensively in recruiting to have a quarterback in place in the class so the targeted prospects know who they'll potentially be playing with.
Other than leadership, the commitment from Swoopes solves what could have been a dicey quarterback situation in the class. There are a ton of really good prospects in the state in 2013 and waiting on Swoopes could have put Texas in jeopardy to miss out on one or multiple other talented signal-callers, so the commitment from Swoopes is extremely significant in that it kept the coaching staff from having to make those difficult decisions that had plenty of potential to go poorly for the 'Horns.
5) I've heard he's quite the basketball player as well. Any chance he tries to do both sports in college?
As mentioned above, Swoopes does have some serious hardwood talent, which he may have inherited from his aunt, of whom you may have heard -- former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes. But despite that basketball ability, Swoopes hasn't said much about wanting to play basketball in college and it seems that he's completely committed to becoming the best football player he can be.