Coach's Corner: Ryan Swope

Last week, Ryan Swope and Austin Westlake ended the football team's run through the playoffs, capping off an excellent senior campaign for the Aggie commit. Websider's Taylor Freeman visits with Head Coach Derek Long about Swope's skills and what he will bring to College Station.

What were Ryan's stats on the year?

"Rushing, Ryan had 236 attempts for 1850 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 1 fumble. Passing, he was 1-1 for 64 yards and a touchdown. Receiving, he had 23 catches for 480 yards and 4 touchdowns. He also had two kickoff returns for touchdowns."

Why is Ryan such a special player?

"Ryan has that rare combination of tools in high school. He is 6'1", 197, and has a speed dimension you don't see very often. He is a fast and physical runner, and he has great hands. If you can get him in space, he is one of the most dangerous runners in high school. On top of all of this he is a fine young man, and has really been a leader for this team when they needed someone to be."

How has Ryan been a leader for your team, exactly?

"Well the first three games he was nursing a bruise, so he couldn't really practice much, and just didn't feel like he had the right to be that vocal leader until he got healthy. So starting out this team really lacked a leader, and it reflected on the field. So – you know Drew Brees went here – and one day our coach was looking at a youtube video of a pre-game ritual that Drew does on the Saints, and he showed it to Ryan, and he really took it to heart of what it takes to be a leader ever since then. He led the team every pre-game, he would ask the coaches to leave during meetings so he and the captains could talk, and it really helped our team develop."

What would you say he needs to work on to have an impact early at A&M?

"I'd say quit going hunting and fishing on Sundays (laughs). No, honestly other than generally getting used to the size and speed at the next level, I think he's ready. He doesn't really have a weakness in his game."

So how fast have you clocked Ryan in the 40?

"Well, I'm almost afraid to tell you, because you wouldn't believe it. I… let's just call it 4.30 flat and leave it at that. But listen, we've been doing this a long time here, and we've had some great athletes come through, and I can honestly say he's the fastest we've ever timed in the 40. We've had Earl Campbell's son come through, we've had guys that have won district in the 100m for 3 years straight, and nobody has clocked as fast as him."

Is there any play that stands out to you as why Ryan is so special?

"It couldn't ever be one play, but I can tell you the most recent two plays were in our playoff game against Harlingen. It was a good game, and they kicked off to Ryan, and he made a couple of moves and ran the kickoff all the way back. So they get the ball back, come down, fight a long drive, and get a field goal, and kick it back off. Ryan takes that kick, and again, he makes some great moves and runs it all the way back. You could really see it demoralize the other team, but that is just a handful of plays he's made this year. I don't even know how many 5 touchdown games he's had this year, and many times we'd take him out early in the 3rd quarter."

Sounds like you've had a great player on your hands coach.

"I really do, he's really been something for us. I know Mike Sherman and the other coaches are already excited to get him, but I think once he gets up there and shows his skills, work ethic, and personality, they are going to be even more excited."

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