On Tuesday, the Texas Longhorns received an unexpected pledge from Huntsville defensive end T’Vondre Sweat, who committed over offers from Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas A&M, and others.
Although Sweat’s rankings aren’t particularly impressive — he’s a mid three-star prospect — his offer list is impressive and his pledge came at an important time for the Longhorns.
With the Aggies surging on the recruiting trail in recent weeks by winning head-to-head battles for highly-rated prospects like safeties Brian Williams and Demani Richardson and cornerback Bobby Wolfe.
By landing Sweat, Texas now has some really positive news in the 2019 recruiting class for the first time since the 2018 class signed. So the commitment provides some evidence that Texas can still be competitive with perceived A&M leans in this class. After all, each of the four 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions were in favor of the Aggies for Sweat.
And now defensive line coach Oscar Giles has some positive momentum, too — he didn’t secure a single pledge for his position group in the last cycle until August. It wasn’t until Daniel Carson pledged in January that he landed a defensive end.
Like Carson, Sweat is a rather raw prospect who has also spent time on the offensive side of the ball. Like Carson, Sweat is also a basketball player, which provides the final similarity, as both players should be able to pack on muscle quickly in college after giving up the game. Because the sport requires so much running, football players often have trouble adding mass during the offseason when they’re on the hardwood.
Where Sweat differs is in his height and length — he’s 6’3 and 249 pounds, a little bit shorter and without the remarkable wingspan possessed by Carson.
Compared to a freak athlete like former Texas A&M star Myles Garrett, Sweat isn’t far behind in his 40-yard dash or shuttle. Where Garrett really separates himself is in his vertical leap, which is 34 inches compared to 22.4 inches for Sweat.
So Sweat isn’t an elite athlete, but he does have a good first step and showed flashes as a sophomore of stacking and shedding against the run in addition to making plays against the zone read. The technical elements of the game like pad level and using his hands still need work, but those are areas where Giles has traditionally had success developing players.
As telling as anything are offers from schools like Alabama and TCU. The Crimson Tide have offered 211 players in the 2019 class and 17 strong-side defensive ends across the country, so figuring out how many of those offers are actually committable at any given time is difficult. However, an offer is still a sign of interest from Nick Saban, at the least, which does have some definite value from an evaluation perspective. And Horned Frogs head coach Gary Patterson is one of the premier evaluators in the game.
Don’t expect Sweat to come in and contribute early since he’ll need some time to develop, but as the Longhorns work on assembling another strong defensive line class, Sweat is a good start and another player who could eventually emerge as an excellent player.