INDIANAPOLIS — D’Andre Swift says he has recovered from shoulder injury that limited him the final three games of his Georgia football career, and he plans to go through NFL combine drills except the bench press.
Swift, who led Georgia with 1,218 yards rushing this season (6.21 yards per carry), is projected to be the first running back taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. The draft takes place April 23-25 in Las Vegas.
Swift will showcase his athleticism in the combine testing. His on-field skills will be on display when the running backs take to the field for drills on Friday at Lucas Oil Stadium (TV: NFL Network).
Fellow projected first-round pick Andrew Thomas provided teams with a preview of what to expect from Swift.
“Swift, it’s his one-cut ability,” Thomas said on Wednesday. “He can make a play out of no play. It’s how quick he is, and he’s elusive, too.”
Swift knows there’s plenty of competition on the draft board, but he’s confident in his abilities.
“There are a lot of great backs in this class, but I think I’m the most versatile,” Swift said during his interview session on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
“I think I’m a three-down back, and I can do whatever I’m asked to do. God gave me a lot of ability. I don’t take that for granted. I work hard every day, and I’m a leader.”
Swift revealed that some of his Georgia workouts came after midnight, very much by choice.
“Offseason, I would work out, and when everybody left, I would come back at like 1 or 2 in the morning and have someone come with me to throw me balls,” Swift said, explaining that it was just a matter of wanting to take advantage of every opportunity to improve himself.
“I’d catch myself sometimes staying up and I’d think: ‘Why not go try to get better, why not go do something to be better?’ I’m the kind of person I’m never settling, I’m always looking to get better, you never can be perfect.”
Swift was certainly less than 100 percent after exiting the Georgia Tech game early with a shoulder contusion, an injury that limited him to just two carries in the SEC Championship Game loss to LSU.
Swift revealed he wasn’t supposed to play in the Sugar Bowl against Baylor, either, but the Georgia fans and Mercedes-Benz Superdome setting got him excited in the pregame.
“We were warming up, and I wasn’t supposed to play at all, but I got out there and I see the fans, the crowd, the energy,” Swift said. “I got goose bumps. I start catching kick returns, and I go to Coach (Dell) McGee, and I’m like ‘Coach is there any way I can play — any way?’
“I almost starting crying, because I wasn’t going to be able to play. But I wanted to be out there to do anything.”
Swift came in the game on the fourth series and took a handoff — and then pitched the ball back to quarterback Jake Fromm, who unleashed a 46-yard pass to Georgia Pickens to the Baylor 14.
Swift carried for 2 yards on the next play before exciting a game the Bulldogs would win 26-14.
It’s a memory Swift said he will always carry with him, from a program he will always hold a special place for in his heart.
“I wanted to stay with the team as long as I could,” Swift said, explaining why he chose to go through bowl workouts even when he wasn’t sure he would play in the Sugar Bowl game. “There was such a brotherhood at Georgia.”
And Swift was at the top of the hierarchy, asserting himself after the team’s shocking 20-17 upset loss to South Carolina threatened the Bulldogs reign atop the SEC East Division.
“When we lost to South Carolina, I asked Coach(Kirby) Smart if I could address the team before the team meeting, and I told the guys what needed to be said,” Swift said. I don’t think Jake (Fromm) faded away, I think my role was kind of unique. When I would speak, they would listen.”
Smart sensed that. Swift took over as a weekly representative at the beat corps media days.
“Because of how carried myself on and off the field, I was looked at as a role model for the young guys, and somebody that was doing it right,” Swift said. “So when I talked, they would listen.”
Swift’s Georgia teammates will also be watching on April 23, when he’s expected to be the first running back selected in the NFL draft in Las Vegas.
Swift has a formal interview scheduled with the Miami Dolphins on Thursday — the franchise he’s widely projected to go to — as well as the Buffalo Bills. The Dolphins have picks 18 and 26, and the Bills have the No. 22 overall pick.
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