He went 1-9 as a starting quarterback last year. He completed less than half of his passes against 2A defenses as a senior. And he may not even play this year.
But Tyrone Swoopes is the future of Texas football.
The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder went 2-for-2 with 11 yards while running for 26 yards on four carries in the Longhorns’ Orange-White Scrimmage two weekends ago.
On the surface, those aren’t impressive numbers. But if you saw the way Swoopes dodged multiple defenders on his way to gaining those 26 rushing yards, you’d understand why he’s the front-runner to be Texas’ third-string quarterback this year.
“Tyrone is ahead of the other two,” head coach Mack Brown said of Swoopes. “He can run. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s in great shape and he’s throwing the ball well. He just needs to get more reps.”
After his junior year at Whitewright, Swoopes was among the hottest names in high school football and rated as a five-star prospect by most recruiting services. But he struggled as a senior and was even reclassified as an “athlete” instead of a quarterback by ESPN.
Swoopes graduated from Whitewright a semester early so he could enroll and practice at Texas this spring. Since then, he’s already passed up Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet, both of whom redshirted last year, for the third-string quarterback spot behind David Ash and Case McCoy.
“He’s a big guy,” junior defensive back Quandre Diggs said. “He’s learning the offense really fast. He makes great plays. And with a guy like that who can scramble and throw the ball, it’s tough to go up against him.”
For the first time in his career, Ash is the clear-cut starting quarterback coming out of spring practice. All eyes are on him as everyone wonders whether he can turn that potential into production and, more importantly, wins this season.
As athletic and polished as Ash is, however, he isn’t the quarterback on the roster with the most potential. That title goes to Swoopes.
McCoy is a senior, and with Ash being a junior, Swoopes could be a three-year starter if he redshirts this upcoming season. That’s assuming he stays ahead of Brewer and Overstreet, along with Class of 2014 commit Jerrod Heard.
If Swoopes’ performance in this year’s spring game is any indication, he could be the quarterback that leads Texas to its next national title.