ATLANTA — Georgia tailback D’Andre Swift sat dejectedly in front of his locker, a towel over his head, ready to answer difficult questions.
Swift had likely played his last game for the Bulldogs, his decision to make himself eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft likely imminent.
Swift was one of three team captains for the SEC Championship Game on Saturday. But most knew something was amiss when he didn’t start, and things grew very suspicious when he came in and lined up as a receiver.
Swift’s use proved very limited in the 37-10 loss to LSU on Saturday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“My shoulder has been messed up for a minute now, not too many people knew that, but I was trying to push through it,” said Swift, who was limited to just five touches, none beyond the first series of the third quarter.
“The game got away from us early.”
Swift was noncommittal when asked about his plans to play in the bowl game, which will be officially determined when the CFP rankings are released beginning at noon on Sunday.
“I’m going to talk to my team, talk to my coaches and try to get my shoulder better,” said Swift, who had exited the Nov. 30 Georgia Tech game in the third quarter, triggering speculation he may not be 100 percent for the SEC title match.
UGA coach Kirby Smart said throughout the week that Swift was practicing, and he expected him to play well. Smart didn’t change his tune on his tailback’s health after the game.
“He did everything we asked him to do, (and) he said he was going to be able to play and thought he would be able to compete,” Smart said. “As far as I know, he was fine. Towards the end of the game, we ended up holding him out once the outcome was decided, but he seemed fine to me.”
Swift, who carried the Bulldogs to their third straight SEC Championship Game appearance with more than 1,200 yards rushing this season, said it was difficult watching his team struggle.
“It was real frustrating because my mentality is you want to be out there with them guys,” Swift said. “I love playing with my brothers. I wanted to play with them. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to contribute like I wanted to.”
Georgia finished with a season-low 61 yards, averaging 2.4 yards per rush with Brian Herrien gaining a team-high 24 yards on 8 carries.
Swift had 2 carries for 13 yards and 3 receptions for 18 yards.
This, despite the shoulder injury that affected his running.
“It was a lot of pain,” Swift said. “Really, couldn’t run, couldn’t swing my arm, had no motion in my arm. I just tried to push through for my team.”