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June 7, 2012
Tyrone Swoopes is a five-star prospect. He dominates football games at the high school level in just about every way imaginable. He had offers from programs all over America before committing to Texas back in February.
A dual-threat quarterback out of Whitewright, Texas, a town of just 1,700 about an hour north of Dallas, Swoopes is used to being the big-man on the athletic stage. Fans across Texas, and more recently the entire nation, have become aware of his talents.
Despite all the accolades and recognition, Swoopes knows he still has his doubters.
As a junior for Whitewright, Swoopes took over games with his legs. His season rushing totals nearly doubled his passing yards, and he found the end zone 29 times as a runner compared to 15 TD passes. As such, people have wondered if Swoopes is a capable-enough passer to continue to dominate in college.
Swoopes hears the questions, and he's determined to put any and all concerns to rest this summer during an appearance in the inaugural Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta.
"I just want to show everybody that I can throw the ball, that I have been working this summer and that I'm good at what I do," Swoopes said.
"I think people do (underestimate him as a passer), just because when you look at my highlights, you see a lot of running. But that's not all that I do. We do a whole lot of passing stuff, I just didn't get a chance to use it last year. This coming up year, I'll have more opportunities to show that I can pass the ball because everybody will be prepared for me to run the ball."
Over the spring and the early parts of the summer, including a recent Texas camp appearance in which he worked with UT co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, Swoopes has focused on fine-tuning his mechanics. He's hoping that extra work will pay off in Atlanta.
"I've been working on the little things. I've talked to Coach Harsin about things and we talked after the camp," Swoopes said. "He told me I have the big things that I need, like arm strength and good feet. You can always work more on your feet, but I want to work on the little things that it takes to be accurate."
Swoopes carries a quiet confidence on the field. He's not a player who will yell and scream to draw attention, but he is fiercely competitive. At the Five-Star Challenge, he'll be matched up with some of the nation's best prospects, and he's ready to see how he stacks up. Included in the group of participants is Max Browne, the only signal-caller ranked ahead of Swoopes on the Rivals100. Swoopes isn't looking for any individual matchups, but he just wants to perform at the highest level possible and let the chips fall where they may.
"I'm not trying to show anybody up. I'm just trying to better myself and be the best that I can be," Swoopes said. "If someone (is) better than me, that's the way it's meant to be and I'll keep working. But I'll try my best to be the best I can as a football player and as a person."
At the event, Swoopes will be joined by a number of future Longhorns teammates. He's scheduled to room with Ricky Seals-Jones, a player who recently decommitted from Texas. Swoopes isn't the type to pressure any prospect into attending a school where the player isn't fully comfortable, but he said he'll gladly talk up the Texas program to any attendee who has any questions.
"It will feel good to know I'll be down there with people I know and that we will be representing the same school in the future," Swoopes said. "I think it will be good for Texas, good for me."
Mike Farrell's take
The knock on Swoopes is that he's more of an athlete than a quarterback and that could still be the case, but he's shown great improvement in his throwing mechanics this spring. As long as he shows steady improvement, he will be a nightmare for defensive coordinators in the Big 12 for years to come. The Vince Young comparisons are there even though Swoopes isn't as big. When you watch him on film you can see how he could dominate similar to Young. However, 7-on-7 isn't his forte and it will be interesting to see if this is like watching Terrelle Pryor back in the summer of 2007 where I said it was "like watching Superman without his cape." Without the ability to run, Swoopes could look awkward out there or he could surprise all of us and show how far he's come.