Not Sweating Over The Season

It was a good year for Andrew Sweat, the first linebacker to join Ohio State's class of 2008, but it could have gone better. Find out how injuries slowed Sweat's senior season, what he thinks about Etienne Sabino joining him in Columbus and where he might wind up lining up for the Buckeyes in this update.

After becoming the ninth verbal member of OSU's class of 2008, Andrew Sweat had his sights set on going out and having a productive senior season.

It is safe to stay that things did not necessarily go according to plan, however. While the season was far from a wash, the 6-2, 233-pound linebacker from Washington (Pa.) Trinity played the majority of the year while battling a shoulder injury that made it tough to initiate contact.

"I think it went pretty good," he said. "I was a little bit banged up for most of the year but I think it went pretty well. Obviously it ended before we wanted it to, but overall I think it went pretty well."

Sweat suffered a sprain in his AC joint that he said felt like a slight separation. It was not until the final three games of the season that he said he felt 100 percent healthy. He finished the season with 113 tackles, five forced fumbles, four sacks and one fumble recovery. As a junior, he had 165 tackles – 13 for loss – and four sacks to go along with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

"I guess at my position it affected me because I play linebacker and running back-fullback so it's all contact," he said. "You hit pretty much every play. It hurt, but I didn't miss any games. I played through it."

Nearly five months after Sweat committed to the Buckeyes, so too did Miami (Fla.) Dr. Michael M. Krop linebacker Etienne Sabino, also a four-star prospect. Sweat said the OSU coaching staff told him early on that they were looking at four potential linebackers in the class, and he and Sabino were two of them.

"I was one of them and there was Steven Filer, Brendan Beal and then Sabino," he said. "I knew that they were going to try to bring in one more (after I committed)."

Rather than be upset that he will have more competition at his spot, Sweat said he is glad Sabino is on board. The two met once when both were attending a camp at Florida, Sweat said. They have not met since, but they periodically text message each other.

"Yeah, it can only help the defense," he said. "There's more than one linebacker position. I think all of us can play and if all of us are good we'll all play. They always have great linebackers at Ohio State. Even this year with Marcus Freeman and James Laurinaitis, they always have two or three great linebackers."

In addition to his duties at middle linebacker for Trinity, Sweat took carries from his fullback spot on offense and rushed for 430 yards and eight touchdowns. The Buckeyes will lose three fullbacks from this year's roster, creating speculation that a member of the class of 2008 could be converted to fullback.

The possibility exists that Sweat could be that player, although he said the coaching staff has not specifically discussed that situation with him.

"I played fullback all four years at the varsity level," he said. "I guess when you play football you kind of focus on defense if you love defense, but I guess I never really focused on fullback because I never thought I was going to be a fullback but if that was my position I'd focus on it then. I guess we'll see what happens. They haven't mentioned anything to me about that."

If the situation presents itself, Sweat said he would be fine switching to fullback at the next level.

"I know they don't have much depth there after this year," he said. "It doesn't matter. I'll play whatever."

Ed Dalton, Sweat's head coach, said he feels his linebacker could play a multitude of spots in college.

"I think it's one of many positions that Ohio State can make him if that's what they want," he said. "I think he's a Mike, he's a Will, he's a strong safety, he's a free safety, he's a fullback, he's an H-back. He's got all that. He can do all those things for real."

For now, though, the plan is for Sweat to stick at linebacker in college. Which linebacker spot he will eventually line up at remains to be seen, although Dalton said he is a natural middle linebacker.

"(OSU linebackers) coach (Luke) Fickell said any of the three linebacker positions," Sweat said. "He said one of the things they like about me is I'm versatile."

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