If you've followed LonghornDigest.com, you know that we — and Scout.com in general — are higher on Swoopes than most. And those evaluations are based on everything from watching film, talking to quarterback coaches who have worked with him as well as conducting in-person evaluations on multiple occasions, including high school games as well as a week's worth of practice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
From those evaluations, I have determined that Swoopes has all the tools that you look for in a college quarterback, but is simply in need of polish, seasoning and more coaching.
Make a checklist for the physical tools that coaches covet in a quarterback — athleticism, feet, arm strength and size — and Swoopes grades at or near the top in all of them. He's legitimately 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds (even heavier now that he's at Texas) with the speed, quickness and vision to create big plays in the running game. He's one of the best zone read quarterbacks that I've seen, in terms of having the instincts and the ability to maximize whatever situation he's put in. As a runner, Swoopes is an elite prospect.
It's as a passer that you see the most divergence in opinions. Swoopes has an absolute cannon for an arm, but doesn't have the time spent with quarterback coaches nor the time spent in a pass-first offense to completely capitalize on that gift at this point in time. He's inconsistent, making one throw that would seem to prove he's capable of being a big-time thrower, but following that with a miss on an easier pass.
But the one thing that has been a constant is that Swoopes is ever-improving. Elite 11 quarterbacks coach Yogi Roth raved about Swoopes's ability to grasp concepts and improve over the course of the event. In fact, that's why Swoopes made the list of invitees to the national event.
And that really showed at the U.S. Army practices. The coaches in attendance said that Swoopes was the best quarterback there, especially on a Thursday performance that gave the appearance that Swoopes wasn't as much of a long shot as many thought. Swoopes was brilliant on that day, dropping deep balls beautifully over the top, powering in crossing routes and deep outs and checking down to secondary and tertiary options. In one practice, he showed the polish and consistency you look for from a top prospect. He outplayed Max Browne, who to many was the top pocket passing prospect in the country at that point, in a setting where Swoopes wasn't even able to use his best attribute — his legs.
So while Swoopes is far from a finished product, it is my belief that not only can he play quarterback at the next level, but that he can develop into a top dual-threat capable of terrorizing defenses with his legs or with his arm.