Geoff Swaim may not be the recruit Longhorn fans coveted, but that doesn't mean he isn't needed.
You don't need to watch many of Geoff Swaim's Hudl highlights to understand why he's being brought to Austin. The relatively unknown 6-5, 250 pound TE from Butte CC in Oroville, CA (alma mater of Aaron Rodgers, a quality JUCO program that has put 20 guys in the NFL) is a H-back/TE blocking specialist with negligible value as a receiver (5 catches in 2011 for Butte, 5 catches as a high school senior for Pleasant Valley High) and it's unlikely he'll catch anything here beyond a cold and the occasional play action red zone surprise.
What Swaim does do is block. Effectively, and sometimes, devastatingly. h/t HornsNation
The one thing that stood out to them in watching my film from other tight ends is that my film was primarily all blocking," he said. "They said they wanted a guy that could help them get back to running power football. I can come in January and make an impact. I am that physical, hard-nosed guy that can block the end.
The Butte CC offense showcases him exactly how Harsin wants to use our TEs in the running game - in fact, Swaim's OC played with Harsin at Boise St. And that's key in understanding why he's a Longhorn.
Swaim is a specialized take, but he's versatile within that area of specialization. His tape reveals equal effectiveness lined up on the edge as a pure blocking TE, as a classic motion H-back, and with his hand down in the dirt in the straight and offset I as a de facto fullback. That's uncommon.
Most H-backs thrive at screening defenders off and turning a shoulder rather than leading between the tackles. It's physics. Tall lead blockers tend to get stood up in the hole, lacking the center of gravity, low pads, and leg drive required. Swaim has the ability to get small and uncoil, and Butte's offense ran their lead play right off of his ass like he's Maurice Carthon. He also brings his feet with him when he gets there. You see a pretty good demonstration of it in his first two highlights.
Swaim is technically sound. He's able to square on defenders in space and gets his fit on the edge nicely as a traditional TE. He runs with a noticeable forward lean, but shows good enough feet, technique, and coordination to prevent getting matadored as the defender flows to the ball. Fear of overreach is why blockers struggle to put their full power on defenders in space and they tend to acquire blocks rather than drive through them. Many of Swaim's pancakes have to do with his feet and technique - and the abandon they allow him to play with - more than his power clean.
Swaim has a legit TE frame and 260+ is in his future. Can he show the same blocking abilities against Oklahoma as he does against Shasta College? I don't know, but his JUCO competition is rungs above anything we'll see on high school tape and he will show up in January, 2013 somewhat ready-made.
This take is best understood as seeking a useful piece who can play right away and will allow us to better unlock the abilities of the four and five stars we covet. That he's a non-factor with the ball in his hands is pretty much beside the point. His realistic floor? Probably Chad Stevens. Absolute ceiling? Dan Campbell (A&M).
This recruitment also reconfirms our staff's willingness to go outside of its traditional comfort zone (California, JUCO, a TE who can actually block) to find the players they need with abilities that we can't find on the roster.