Class of 2009
I am doing positional analysis of each class in the Southeast. In the interest of giving attention to each class member, I am going to break them down individually and by position.
OT 6-5.5 271
Kingwood HS (TX)
Commit Date: 8/4/2008
Just about every coach will tell you that games are won and lost up front, both on the offensive and defensive lines. Coach Bobby Petrino and Company understand that and have demonstrated said understanding by going hard after quality offensive linemen. The result was three space-eaters in a mere nine days. Below is a breakdown of Arkansas commit Travis Swanson, a three-star standout from Kingwood HS (TX).
Size—Standing nearly 6'6 and weighing close to 275, Swanson is both long and wide. Once he locks on, he gets solid movement and is rarely overmatched. He has excellent length and has shown the ability to use it by getting extension and maintaining leverage. He is very lean and looks like he will be able to hold close to 300 pounds. As long as he can maintain his overall level of athleticism, the additional weight will make him very effective.
Feet—has the feet of a TE and is very light and nimble in his movement. Takes a good first step and gather and is able to navigate well through the box. His feet serve him very well in pass protection. He gains good depth with his initial kick-step and looks very natural when sliding. Doesn't over-leverage or lunge, so he rarely gets set up for underneath counter-moves.
Physicality—has at times shown the ability to be very aggressive and to finish, but is mostly inconsistent. While he is an excellent pass blocker, he will need to refine his ability to run block consistently and effectively. He doesn't necessarily get pushed around, but he does sometimes lose intensity on contact.
Pad Level—this is probably due to his height and it is not consistently an issue, but it will be a major factor at the next level. Winning the battles along the LOS starts and stops with the effective use of feet and hands, which translates into leverage. Swanson's skill set includes both excellent feet and quick hands, so when he starts playing with better and more consistent pad level, he will win more than his fair share of battles.
Consistency appears to be the biggest concern right now, but there aren't many OTs with feet better than Swanson's. He has tremendous upside in that he can hold a good bit of additional weight and it can be framed around his natural athleticism. He appears to be a very good fit for the Razorback's system in that he can get to the second level and the flats and be a very effective blocker. This will help with blocking for perimeter-based plays, such as screens. He adds an important piece to a very solid group of Offensive Linemen in the Class of 2009.
Burke Hayes is the Southeastern Regional Manager for Football Recruiting at Scout.