"It's what I dreamed about growing up, playing Mooresville football and winning a lot of ball games," said Sweezy. "I hate to lose, and we didn't even have a winning season last year.
"We need to have a winning season for a good year. We can't have another losing season, that's not how Mooresville football has worked. We let them down last year so we've got to step up and have a winning season this year."
Mooresville will be counting on Sweezy to step up his game in 2006, and head coach Barclay Marsh has already noticed a maturity in his top player, who is now considered his team's leader.
"One of the good things about J.R. is that he was voted a co-captain by his teammates," said Marsh. "That shows that his team has great respect for him, and they see his leadership capabilities. For J.R. and the other seniors, this is their last time through, and I always tell them that it's not my team, I tell the seniors that it is their team.
"He's taken that leadership role very seriously. The biggest thing with being a leader is you also have to be a good player. He's trying to get the best out of our team."
"J.R. was a good player for us last year, but I would not have called him a leader," added Marsh. "Now I think that he is the leader of our team. It's not that he's a vocal guy, that's not his style, but he leads by example. People see it... and you can't miss him. At his size, you can't miss him."
Opponents likely won't recognize No. 52 this year. Checking in at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds as a junior, Sweezy officially weighed in this week at 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds, and his physical development has even caught his head coach by surprise.
"It's one of the damnedest things I've ever seen," said Marsh. "Literally, he played for us at 205, he wrestled at 215, and he never had to cut weight... at the end of February he was 215 pounds. When we had spring recruiting and the coaches would come in and ask about his weight, I would say yesterday he was 235 and two weeks later he'd be 240. It's not fat either.
"He had weight training the last period of the day and worked like crazy. He would then leave here, go to a private gym, and work out there. He hired a personal trainer... his work ethic is unbelievable. His body has taken off, but his work ethic has helped all of that. He just turned 17... he's still a real young kid."
|"I've got my confidence back over the last two practices."|
"His body has grown and he has become a weightroom warrior," added Marsh. "He's lost no speed, he's probably gained speed, and he's added 40-plus pounds. It's going to be a tremendous asset to him, and he's a tremendous asset to our team."
"My growth plates are still open so I hope I can get a few inches taller," said Sweezy. "I'll still be able to put more weight on, so I'm hoping to get up to 260, 270 or maybe 280."
The added weight has also helped Sweezy's recruitment, as he impressed college scouts with his performances on the combine circuit. He has picked up scholarship offers from East Carolina, James Madison, and NC State, earning an offer from the Wolfpack following their mid-June invite-only combine.
"They said I did real good at the one-day camp," said Sweezy. "They liked the way I moved for my size, and they liked my body frame."
The offer from NC State meant a lot to Sweezy, who is a legacy recruit as his grandfather played fullback for the Wolfpack.
"That was my childhood dream," he stated. "My grandpa played at State, and he always wanted me to go there. I got that offer."
Does Sweezy have a leader?
"I'm probably leaning towards State right now, but I'm still thinking about everything," he said. "I'm still thinking about schools. With academics and where I'd get to play, I'm still thinking about it."
Previously Sweezy mentioned making a decision during his senior season, but now he appears to be leaning towards finalizing his college plans prior to the opener against Davie County.
"I've been talking with my family, and I think we're going to make a decision before our first game," said Sweezy. "Not before the scrimmages, but before my first game. That is on August 25th, so I will probably make a decision here soon."
"I think it is his and his family's decision," said coach Marsh. "If they have all the facts that they need, I think that's good. Anytime someone is offering a 17-year-old $100,000 dollars, and a bunch of people are doing that to you, it's a big decision.
"There is a lot of glitz and glamour in recruiting, but when you cut through all that, you're committing to a place that you are going to be at for four or five years and that will be the foundation of your life from here on out. I think it's a big decision, and he doesn't want that weighing on his shoulders during his senior season."