At the ripe old age of eight years, Rod Sweeting was—what else?—playing football.
Sweeting’s success at Luella High School was evidence of the practice and hard work he’d put in since the age of eight, and the versatility of talent was displayed in a surprising number of positions in offense and defense. The two-year team captain tackled, intercepted, blocked field goals, returned kickoffs (including one for 99 yards) and recovered fumbles. As a senior, he had 10 touchdowns and 36 receptions for 723 yards. His senior year also saw him become the Golden Helmet Award winner for athletic and academic achievement, as well as team MVP and Georgia Class 5A first team all-state selection.
Impressive, to say the least.
After turning down offers from Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Mississippi State, Sweeting’s winning tradition continued with Georgia Tech. He procured eight tackles as one of only seven true freshmen to play. His diligence in his junior season gained him an ACC Defensive Back of the Week award in October 2011 and an honorable mention in the All-ACC selection. Sweeting started in all fourteen games as a senior, and his production culminated in becoming the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Despite his accomplishments, Sweeting’s skills in his own adaptability have rendered him somewhat of a diamond-in-the-rough type; to merely dismiss him at this face value alone would be a mistake. With the combination of focused coaching and his own gumption, Sweeting will constructively progress in the NFL.
It’s no secret that Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff looks for conscientious players who love the game of football. Was a four-letter expletive uttered in excitement by Sweeting after the nationally-televised Sun Bowl victory enough to eradicate him from consideration? Absolutely not. Sweeting fits Dimitroff’s mold of standard, and the Falcons would do well to snap him up.