Like D’Andre Swift (7), Mark Webb (23) is from Philadelphia, and both competed in the same football leagues growing up. Swift attended Saint Joseph’s Prep, and Webb went to Archbishop Wood High School. Swift and Webb are cousins, and both are starters at their respective positions at UGA.
But there is one cousin that is the more highly touted college prospect and has Heisman potential, and that is Swift.
Swift ran for 1,564 yards and 25 touchdowns as a high school senior at Saint Joseph’s. He only carried the ball 149 times and averaged almost 10.5 yards per carry.
“He was pretty good. If we had a best player in Philadelphia, he was the best in the league,” Webb said about Swift.
Swift is a very talented running back, and going into last season Georgia fans already knew that because of his performance as a freshman. In 2018, Swift was Georgia’s leading rusher with 1,049 yards, and he was also named Second Team All-SEC.
Before the 2018 season, Swift suffered a groin injury but had surgery in the offseason. The injury seemed to have nagged him for more than half of the season, and he didn’t reach 100 yards in the first 7 games. He then rushed for triple digits in 4 out of Georgia’s last 5 games.
“It’s just crazy how his work ethic has compounded,” Webb said. “The work he was doing in high school compared to now, he’s trying to be the best running back in college football. It’s crazy to see the work he puts in. He’s doing sit-ups in his room, and we definitely wasn’t doing that back then.”
Now as a junior, Swift seems to be fully healthy and has run well in his first two games. So far during this 2019 season, Swift has carried the ball 22 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 9.7 yards per carry.
Georgia has three other talented running backs, and head coach Kirby Smart likes to balance the workload between all of the backs to keep them fresh. It seems like each back needs to make the most out of their carries, but Swift seems to be the number one guy thus far.
“He’s done well. He’s put up good numbers, right, He didn’t really, have much of a rotation this past weekend,” Smart said. “We got up, and once we got up, we weren’t going to sit there and let him carry it the whole game, so it was a tale of two games. One game he needed to carry it more, and one game he didn’t.”
Smart also commented that Swift has stepped up into more a leader role in the locker room. As a freshman Swift split carries with former Georgia running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb and Michel were two of the most influential leaders on the 2017 team, and it seems that Swift has learned what they have passed on to him.
“D’Andre relishes that role,” Smart said. “I think he understands that he’s one of the inspirational players on the team; he inspires others to do more by the way he competes on the field, the way he runs the ball, the energy he attacks practice with. He tries to set a good example for the young players.
Smart said that during the Murray State game Swift confronted freshman wide receiver George Pickens (1) about an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that he committed. At that point, Georgia had the game under control and the outcome was not in question, but Swift thought it was an ignorant decision on Picken’s part.
“He knows George is going to be a good player so here’s an opportunity for him to impart some of his wisdom and knowledge on George, and I think Swift does that really well,” Smart said.
Swift seems to be a true leader and is very elated that redshirt freshman running back Zamir White (3) is finally getting the chance he’s worked for. White scored his first touchdown this past Saturday, and Swift was seen on camera being the first one to congratulate him on the sideline.
This Saturday is another chance for Swift to display his skills as Georgia takes on Arkansas State, and expect to see a lot more carries out of White as well.