ATHENS — Georgia tailback D’Andre Swift will bypass his senior season and make himself eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft. He made that intent known with a tweet on his social media account.
❤️ SE7EN ERA pic.twitter.com/a3J1KmQzCM
— SWIFT7️⃣ (@DAndreSwift) January 3, 2020
Swift said at last year’s Sugar Bowl that his junior season would likely be his last. At no point this season was there any indication Swift’s sentiment had changed.
Still, Swift stepped up into a leadership role this season. Swift was a team captain for the Bulldogs’ 26-14 Sugar Bowl win over Baylor. And even though he wasn’t 100 percent, he insisted on putting himself in the game for a handful of snaps.
Swift battled through an injury-plagued sophomore campaign following 2018 offseason sports hernia surgery, and there were questions about his durability.
Swift, with a healthy offseason behind him, showed his ability to handle a heavy workload this season. The Bulldogs’ No. 7 on offense literally carried his team to a third straight SEC East Division title.
Swift had 193 carries for 1,203 yards and 7 TDs in the regular season, along with 21 receptions for 198 yards and a TD receiving. He also had two kick returns for 16 yards.
Swift played through a sore shoulder the second half of the season, but the injury was aggravated in the regular season-ending 52-7 win over Georgia Tech.
The shoulder injury limited Swift in the SEC Championship Game, severely decreasing Georgia’s hopes of upsetting No. 1-ranked LSU.
Swift explained after the game the plan was to limit his contact, so he had just two carries for 13 yards — both perimeter runs — along with three catches for 18 yards.
Georgia finished with a season-low 61 yards rushing on 25 carries. The Bulldogs were unable to establish any sort of run game without a healthy Swift, losing the ability to control the clock and keep the dangerous LSU offense off the field in a 37-10 loss.
Georgia relied heavily on the 5-foot-9, 215-pound Swift throughout the season, even with teams packing the box near the line of scrimmage, loaded up to stop the run.
Swift played at roughly the same weight as he did a year ago, but he displayed a more powerful and deliberate style between the tackles and in short-yardage situations.
The Philadelphia product also maintained his ankle-breaking cut-back ability, cat-like quickness and breakaway speed, clearly the most dangerous playmaker on the UGA football team.
Swift was a first-team All-SEC Coaches pick and was named one of four permanent captains for the Bulldogs this season.
It was Swift who emerged as the most vocal team leader after Georgia’s 20-17 overtime loss to South Carolina on Oct. 12, boldly declaring the team would treat each remaining contest like an elimination playoff game.
The Bulldogs responded, winning their final six regular-season games to become the first team in 23 years to win the SEC East Division three consecutive seasons (Florida, 1994-96).
Swift had three of his five 100-yard games down the stretch, including a season-high 179 yards in a cold, rain-drenched 21-0 win over Kentucky, and a career-high 25 carries and 110 total yards in the Bulldogs’ pivotal 24-17 win against Florida.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 20 to declare themselves eligible for the NFL draft. A list of underclassmen approved for entry will be sent to NFL teams on Jan. 24.
The NFL draft evaluation process includes the East-West Shrine Game (select players Jan. 18, St. Petersburg, Fla.) and the Senior Bowl (select players, Jan. 25, Mobile, Ala.).
The NFL combine takes place Feb. 24-March 2 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
The University of Georgia will also hold a “Pro Day” combine in March, typically the week leading up to the start of spring drills.