ATHENS — Georgia football tailback D’Andre Swift is ready to carry as much of the load as Kirby Smart puts on him.
Swift’s confidence and high expectations quickly became evident in his first meeting with the media since the Bulldogs’ loss in the national championship game appearance.
“I have a little bit of hype behind me, so I have to show what I can do,” said Swift, whose name has already popped up among outside contenders for the Heisman Trophy.
“I feel like when I get in space, the highlights will come.”
Swift is perhaps best known for his game-clinching 64-yard touchdown run against Auburn in the SEC Championship Game.
One of the 21 players on the Georgia roster who attained a 5-star rating in high school, Swift did that and more last season. Swift averaged an eye-popping 7.6 yards per carry while leading the backfield with 17 catches for 153 yards.
Swift said he didn’t mind entering into a crowded backfield last season and playing behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel last season.
“I was never scared of any competition, anywhere I had to go, I was going to compete regardless of where I was at, any school,” Swift said. “So just coming into a role, playing more of the passing game, catching the ball, so I embraced my role.”
That role figures to change this season, with Swift the favorite to start and share the majority of carries with junior Elijah Holyfield for the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs.
Holyfield clearly has confidence in Swift.
“Swift has been good since he got here, but he’s gotten better in other aspects of his game, becoming a more complete back,” Holyfield said. “But I think he’s going to be very ready to step into that role and be an awesome back.”
Swift said he’s working hard to make sure he’s ready.
“I’m making sure I’m more conditioned, I know I’ll get more carries, in that aspect,” Swift said. “We have a great group of guys, we’re so deep at the position, when I come out, when Elijah comes out, we’re not going to lose anything at all.”
Indeed, Swift compared himself and Holyfield to the Chubb-Michel duo of last season.
“I believe we compliment each other real well, two different types of backs, but in a great system,” Swift said. “He does stuff differently, I do stuff differently, kind of like Nick and Sony.”
Holyfield was shown breaking a run up the middle of the defense in the first scrimmage, but Swift said he has run between the tackles in fall drills as well.
When it was suggested that Holyfield is “Mr. Inside” and he is “Mr. Outside,” Swift quickly rejected the notion.
“Not at all,” Swift said. “He can run outside or inside, and I can do the same, so we’ll compliment each other real well.”
It seems Swift is ready to prove he can be Mr. Everything, even if Georgia appears intent on continuing to use a committee approach in the backfield.
Georgia football RB D’Andre Swift