Kirby Smart details how D’Andre Swift has ‘set himself apart’ this spring
When D’Andre Swift was asked about the most carries he had in a game during his high school career, he gave a relatively unimpressive number in the mid 20’s. But he followed it up with the fact that he ran for over 300 yards in that game.
That sounds about right for a player of Swift’s talent.
In his Georgia career, Swift has never needed a high volume of carries to show off his ability. In 2018, when he ran for 1,049 yards on the season, Swift never had more than 18 carries in a game. Elijah Holyfield actually had more carries last year.
But with Holyfield now gone, Swift knows there’s the opportunity for him to have a bigger workload. And he’s ready for it.
“Whatever workload he gives me, it’s my job to be ready for that … I stayed prayed up, put God first,” Swift said. “I get to show everybody in the country what I can do with a high workload.”
This spring is a first of sorts for Swift. Last spring, he wasn’t fully healthy as he recovered from offseason groin surgery. And unlike 14 members of Georgia’s 2019 recruiting class, Swift didn’t enroll early at Georgia.
So in a sense, this is Swift’s first full spring practice session. And his teammates have taken notice of how he’s, somehow, continued to improve.
“He’s ready, he’s had a great offseason,” quarterback Jake Fromm said. “Getting back healthy this spring has been huge for him. I can’t wait to see what he does this fall. I definitely think he’s capable of carrying as much load as he wants to carry.”
Swift’s roommate, defensive back Mark Webb, echoed Fromm’s sentiment.
“He’s more explosive. Slimmer and faster. He’s just being the great player he is,” Webb said.
Of course, how much Swift should be carrying or touching the ball is also a question. Georgia has a number of skilled running backs — Brian Herrien, Zamir White and James Cook — to limit the wear and tear on Swift. And the junior running back has battled injuries from time to time in his Georgia career.
But Swift isn’t concerned about his workload in either the running game or passing offense. As a sophomore, Swift caught 32 passes for 297 yards.
“I should contribute as much as he(Kirby Smart) wants me to, so I’m playing out there to my best ability and giving 100 percent every practice,” Swift said. “I don’t let off. I shouldn’t be taken out of practice or anything like that. I don’t think anybody should, so that’s the standard here at Georgia, so I play to that standard.”
And for what it’s worth, Georgia coach Kirby Smart isn’t too worried about putting too much on Swift’s plate. Smart has had to juggle the workload for the likes of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel before their NFL careers.
“I think when a guy is going into his senior year like Nick (Chubb) or Sony (Michel) and they’ve carried the ball ‘x’ number of times at the SEC level, I think you do manage their workload,” Smart said.
“D’Andre is going into his junior year and only his second spring. He didn’t get a bulk of work as a freshman, he didn’t get a ton of work last year with Elijah (Holyfield) and (Brian) Herrien and his injury. “
Though if Swift keeps playing as he has in his early Georgia career, he might not be around for his senior year. Swift is regarded as one of the top running backs in the country, and a Heisman Trophy contender. The only returning SEC running back that had more yards last year than Swift is Missouri’s Larry Roundtree. And Swift had 62 fewer carries.
But the allure of the NFL draft or concerns about his future hasn’t slowed Swift at all this spring. In fact, he’s only continued to show why he might be Georgia’s best player this spring.
It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Swift have a game this coming season where he finishes with 20-plus carries. And if he continues to get better, maybe Swift could top that 300-yard game he had in high school.
“D’Andre has gone out there this spring and really competed,” Smart said. “He has set himself apart from the other offensive players because of his demeanor and body language.”
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