Georgia fans better “Get ready to win.”
That’s the advice St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.) coach Gabe Infante has for all the Bulldog fans. That’s after Georgia just landed the commitment of 4-star RB D’Andre Swift out of Pennsylvania. The nation’s No. 4 prospect at running back and No. 37 overall recruit for 2017 committed to Georgia on Thursday with the release of another impressive Bleacher Report commitment video.
— SWIFT7️⃣ (@DAndreSwift) September 1, 2016
Swift now becomes the second highest-rated-commitment on the board for the Class of 2017 at Georgia. The Bulldogs nabbed the vital second running back they desperately needed for the Class of 2017 and beat out Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Penn State for the No. 1 prospect in Pennsylvania.
What impresses Infante the most about Swift? Before he hits the hole on that topic, he offers a disclaimer.
“I know what I sound like,” Infante said. “I know I sound like an overzealous and over supportive high school coach but I will just let him do his talking on the field. His talking on the field will be better than anything I can say. He will validate.”
But when he says that, his resume should also be considered. Infante has coached two U.S. Army All-American teams. He’s worked with Football USA and has a current tailback on the Paul Hornung Watch List at Virginia.
Infante has been around some bad dudes. Swift is on the top shelf.
“He’s the best athlete I’ve been around in 20 years of coaching,” Infante said. “Just an extremely special and dynamic kid. Extremely competitive. Every day is a special day with him. We know what he is capable of, but he does something every day to impress all of us every day. He’s a very gifted young man and a real honor on our part as a program to get to work with such a special young man both as an athlete and a person.”
Infante said the 5-foot-10, 210-pounder is a complete football player in every sense of that term.
“He can do a lot of dynamic things for the right offense,” Infante said. “Personally, I think he’s as good of a route runner as I’ve ever seen. He’s a great return guy. He’d probably be an NFL defensive back if he wasn’t so talented offensively. The kid is just a really really special athlete. There’s nothing he can’t do.”
Ask him the best play he’s seen from Swift and an “oh man” immediately follows. There’s just so many examples. There’s the middle screen against his school’s archrival where he leaped over a defender and never broke stride. He’s seen big blocks, deft pass routes and spectacular catches. He’s seen him run through bigger defenders.
But he settles on a 67-yard touchdown run Swift authored as a sophomore during the state championship game in 2014. That came on a counter play.
“He breaks three tackles and then outruns the other safety,” Infante said. “I still think that is one of the greatest runs in coaching high school football that I have ever seen. I’ve been coaching high school football in a lot of places in some pretty big games and I consider that to be the finest run I have ever seen. Especially in a state championship game. … That run is a demonstration to his power and speed. You can find a ton of things on his ability in open space, but that run is a pretty amazing run in a critical game as a sophomore. That game was tied at the half and he comes out with that play.”
Swift will not be able to enroll early as he attends a very strict academic school where a 92 average earns a “B” on the grade sheet. He’s also taken three years of Latin in high school.
Swift plays in a diverse offense that features multiple backs but piled up 1,029 yards on 164 carries as a junior. That’s 6.3 yards per carry in a tough Catholic League Division. He also scored 12 touchdowns. He’s been credited with a 340-pound effort in the bench press.
Expect Swift’s contributions at Georgia to go beyond football. St. Joseph’s Prep has experienced a “culture shift” with Swift on the team.
“Not just on the field,” Infante said. “There are a lot of young kids in the City of Philadelphia who want to be D’Andre Swift. D’Andre has been a great role model for the kids in Philadelphia because he is a great student and a good citizen. He’s a religious young man and I think he’s an excellent role model for kids in general. I am excited for what he will do for whatever community gets him. He will be more than just a player on the field. He will be a young man who will be very involved in that community.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges. Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.