Better Late Than Never For Swinton

James Swinton talks about his hopes of a happy ending to his career at Auburn with a new coordinator heading into the bowl game and his final season in 2008.

Atlanta, Ga.--Receiver James Swinton is hands-down the fastest player on the Auburn football team. Despite his speed, he's caught just one pass in each of his three playing seasons at Auburn after redshirting in 2004.

As a player who annually stands out in spring practices and in August preseason practices, the potential hasn't carried over onto the playing field on Saturday's, but Tony Franklin's new offense could be a new beginning as Swinton has one year and one game remaining in his college eligibility.

"I feel that it's really a blessing in my opinion," Swinton says of the switch from al Borges to Franklin. "The last offense we were in was a great offense as well, but sometimes I just figured it wasn't a great offense for me. With this offense now you just can't key on one person all the time. You've got to try to stop everybody. That allows one-on-one matchups, that allows people getting open in space. I'll be able to use my speed and do what I do best, basically."

After just two catches in two years, Swinton had another promising August in 2007 and had a key 16-yard reception in the game-winning drive in the season opener against Kansas State. However, that's his only catch of the year heading into the bowl game against Clemson.

"I wouldn't look back on this year as being a bad year," he explains. "Certain things just happen. Sometimes you want something so bad and you don't get it, but you don't give up. When you keep fighting and you keep going... I could easily say, ‘All right, the heck with football,' or whatever--but nah, because I know I have the talent to play on this level and the next level. I'm going to keep fighting hard and keep doing what I do best, and that's go out there and try to make plays in practice and eventually on the field in the game."


Swinton has yet to reach his potential Auburn, but hoping that changes starting with the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday.

With Franklin's offense designed around three, four and five-receiver sets and a fast pace, the 6-0 180 Swinton is hoping to get in the lineup on New Year's Eve.

"I feel like I'm best after the catch," he says, "which people haven't seen a lot because I really haven't gotten the ball in my hands a lot. I feel like in this offense I'll be able to get the ball in my hands a little more and I'll be able to show what I can do after the catch.

"It'll be more receivers rotating because we'll probably be throwing the ball a little bit more than we have in the past. There will probably be more of a rotation and things of that nature. I hope to be one of those guys rotating in and out for this first game with this new offensive coordinator."


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