Two days before Georgia running back Nick Chubb regained his place in the backfield after suffering a season-ending knee injury a year ago, the Bulldogs landed Chubb’s potential successor on the recruiting trails– D’Andre Swift.
At 5-foot-10 and 215-pounds, Swift is a highly-sought back whose offer sheet reflects his degree of talent. With scholarships from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Florida State leading the way, Swift holds offers from virtually every power program in the country and is listed as the No. 4 running back in the country by 247Sports.com.
Towards the end of May, Swift named a top five grouping of Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and Penn State. Swift hails from Philadelphia St. Joseph’s, so the inclusion of the Nittany Lions on his list of top schools made sense. Despite the proximity to Happy Valley, though, Swift opted to continue his football career in Georgia, a decision heavily influenced by the coaching staff in Athens.
“It’s the way that they recruited me,” Swift told Scout.com. “It’s everybody. It’s coach [Kirby] Smart … it’s the way they talked to my parents that really sold it for me. They built a great relationship with them as well as me when I went down there.
“Just the love that I got from everybody in the program. Everybody in the program just welcomed me. I felt really welcomed there.”
A coaching staff consisting of successful recruiters can help a recruit feel at home when on a visit, but only a track record of successful players at a given position can eliminate fear of misuse at the college level. Georgia, which currently bolsters a backfield of Chubb and Sony Michel, churns out NFL-caliber running backs on a regular basis, so this area worked directly in the Bulldogs’ favor.
“They have a great running back history,” Swift said. “Coach [Dell] McGee put it on the board for me. I have a chance to compete early, and as a freshman, so I’m looking forward to that.”
Swift had an opportunity to receive a firsthand viewing of exactly what he has to look forward to at Georgia during a recent visit for the Bulldogs’ spring game. This trip, as well as the school’s enthusiastic fan base, helped improve Georgia’s standing with the four-star recruit.
“When I went down there for the spring game, it was just the atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody was into it. Everybody in Georgia is about Georgia football. It’s morning, and the game is not until the afternoon and people are out there tailgating. It just shows how down they are for Georgia football.”
Football is perceived differently in the South, and Swift is excited for an opportunity to change his surroundings and experience a different way of life. Unlike most recruits, distance from home actually worked in Georgia’s favor.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “To get out of Philly and do something not too many people have done feels great. And it feels great to put on for my city.”
With Swift as a member of the Bulldogs’ 2017 class, Georgia now has the No. 3 recruiting class in the SEC and No. 4 class in the country according to 247Sports.com. Swift is one of two running backs in the class, with the other being four-star prospect Toneil Carter, but it may be difficult for the latter to take the field with Swift eating away at his carries.
Swift brings to the field a rare combination of speed, decisiveness and quick change of direction. Swift also stays low and runs behind his pads, which helps the Georgia commit avoid tackles and spring in directions opposite his pursuing defenders. These attributes helped Swift earn an invite to The Opening, and he will also be participating in the U.S. Army All-American bowl game after his senior season concludes.