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February 17, 2012

Longhorns land the state's top player

It's been six years since Vince Young left the University of Texas for NFL pastures and it's been a decade since he was recruited, but Longhorn fans have been dying for a chance to see another quarterback on campus that could replicate some of the things that the greatest player in school history ever pulled off on a football field.

Like a thirsty person in the desert, dying for a cold glass of ice water, the Orangebloods Nation has craved the arrival of a player that could potentially represent a dynamic two-way game-changer at the highest level in college football.

The wait is over. On Friday morning, the Longhorns picked up a commitment from Whitewright quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and that sonic boom you just heard was the city of Austin bursting into celebration.

"I just really wanted to stay inside of Texas because my parents, my family and everybody could see me play," Swoopes said shortly after confirming his commitment with Texas head coach Mack Brown. "I had already visited the other schools in Texas I was looking at and I just thought Texas was best place for me."

The 6-5, 220-pound Swoopes is currently rated as a five-star prospect in the 2013 class and the No. 1 overall prospect in the state of Texas. The multi-sport star also ranks as the No. 1 player in the state in the latest Lone Star Recruiting rankings.

With offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Stanford, Swoopes ranks as one of the most dynamic quarterbacks that the state of Texas has seen in the last decade, joining the likes Young in 2002 and Robert Griffin in 2008. Swoopes said it it was the overall family atmosphere he felt during last weekend's UT junior day that set Texas apart.

"It wasn't really anything that separated them in the football part of things, It's just the fact that they had wives there, some of the players were still there," Swoopes said. "I got to talk to coach (Mack) Brown's wife, coach (Bryan) Harsin's wife a little. That was really cool."

Swoopes' decision comes with the full blessing of his parents, and his father, Tyrone Swoopes Sr., said he thinks his son and Texas match up beautifully.

"I told Tyrone, it's always been a history that Texas has always been a good school to attend, both for football and education. Not only that, I feel it was the perfect fit or Tyrone," Mr. Swoopes said. (UT assistant coach Bruce) Chambers coached me and coached my younger brother (in high school). Now he's going to be able to coach my son. He's always been a close friend to the family.

"And the look that Tyrone had when he was there, I was just happy with him saying Texas was where he wanted to be. As a family, we're all happy for him. It's not really about what we want, it's about him. We're glad to see him happy and we're excited for him."

After returning home from the UT junior day visit, Swoopes discussed his options with those close to him for a few days. He notified the Texas assistant coaches on Wednesday night that he'd made his final decision, and he finalized the commitment on Thursday with a conversation with Mack Brown.

"I made the decision yesterday. I called them after school and practice, told them I'd been praying about it and I was ready to commit," Swoopes said. "I called coach Harsin and coach Chambers. Coach Brown is in Hawaii and I talked to him today. They said they were excited for me, ready for me to get down there so we can start winning."

As a junior last year for Whitewright, Swoopes rushed for 2,267 yards and 29 touchdowns on 170 carries (13.3 YPC), while also throwing for 1,394 yards and 15 touchdowns. His skills on the field are easily apparent to even the most rudimentary football fan, but Swoopes is also a leader for Whitewright in the locker room and he excels in the classroom.

"It makes me very proud," Mr. Swoopes said of his son's commitment. "I always refer back to the toughness of Tyrone as a kid. He's always been tough on and off the field. He has great, great qualities about him as far s being a classy young man. He never gets in trouble, I've never had to discipline him.

"It makes me proud to know he's going to make himself a great name and do great things at Texas. It's a great day. I'm proud of him. The whole family's proud of him. We we have a close relationship. I'm kind of speechless."

When Swoopes first reached out to his father to inform him he'd made a decision, Mr. Swoopes was literally in church. Now, the entire family feels blessed to be part of Tyrone's big decision.

"I had just got off my knees praying. He texted me and asked me to call him. I called him and he said 'Dad I'm ready.' I'm very proud of him," Mr. Swoopes said.

With everything that Tyrone has accomplished as an athlete, his family is most proud of the way he's carried himself while in the spotlight. Swoopes has remained humble, he's been gracious with his time and he's always shown tremendous respect towards the coaches who had recruited him.

"I've never had to discipline him. I've said it many times before, but God has really blessed me with Tyrone," Mr. Swoopes said. "I'm honored to be his father. I know Texas will be proud when he steps on the field and he will contine to show the leadership skills that his mother and I have tried to instill in him."


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