There was a time when an offensive threat at tight end was a foregone conclusion for the Texas Longhorns. Fans got spoiled quickly with the exploits of guys like David Thomas, Bo Scaife, and Jermichael Finley. In the last few seasons Texas tight ends have been much more functional than productive in the offensive scheme. Junior college transfer Geoff Swaim could play a role in 2013 — if early practice reports are any indication — in turning things back around.
The 6’5″, 250 pound Chico, California native caught 16 passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns in two seasons for Butte College, but showed the combination of blocking ability, natural athleticism and soft hands which impressed the Texas coaching staff and made him stand apart from other available options to repair the hole left by the surprise de-commitment of former Belton High star Durham Smythe who will take the field for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this fall.
Swaim was originally recruited as a perimeter run blocker and interior pass blocker, but early practice reports suggest he may be a more natural pass catcher than was understood. With M.J. McFarland assumed to be the starter at the position, and the guy that would get the majority of the snaps regardless of the focus in the new up-tempo offense, Swaim has a big mountain to climb. He has done well enough, however, to get some first team reps in practice early on not only in a traditional tight end alignment, but also on occasion as an H-back in the backfield who could be involved in quick hits or as a lead blocker in zone reads or the sweep running game.
Swaim’s overall technical ability is his calling card and has been on display since his arrival on the Forty Acres. His ability to lead block in the running game is something Texas has needed for at least three seasons now to compliment power fullbacks which have been solid. While his receiving numbers were far from eye-popping at the junior college level, the number of pancake blocks were and ability to level opposing defenders was impressive.
If somehow the latter can rise up to meet the former, Texas may have the dual-ability tight end on hand to make a difference at the position beyond what is expected in terms of the every down grind.