Junior college tight end Geoff Swaim (Oroville, Calif./Butte CC) set out Sunday on his two-day official visit to Texas knowing that he would commit if the Longhorns became his first scholarship offer.
Well, that offer came Tuesday morning in Mack Brown's office, and the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder did what he told himself he'd do: commit.
"About 11:15 this morning I met with Coach Brown in his office with Coach [Bryan] Harsin and Coach [Bruce] Chambers," said Swaim, who will enroll next spring. "We were just talking football and he mentioned that I had what they were looking for in a football player but also in a person in general. He goes, 'Hey, so would you like to play football for Texas? We would like to offer you a full scholarship.' And I said, 'This is amazing, and it was a great opportunity for me.' "
What came next were tears, and the realization that a lifelong dream of playing major college football would soon be a reality.
"When he [offered], I was taken aback a little bit because it was Coach Brown and he is a football legend," Swaim said. "For me, it was pretty overwhelming. ... It was a big shock. It hasn't sunk in yet."
Not only was it a shock to him but his commitment comes as a surprise to anyone who has followed Texas' efforts to find another tight end for 2013 to go along with four-star Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas/Belton).
The Longhorns have looked near and far for a blocker to complement the pass-catching Smythe, including prep prospects Trent Gow (Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield) and Jeremiah Gaines (Red Oak, Texas/Red Oak), and junior college player Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College), among others.
But Swaim gets the feeling he earned the offer because of his blocking abilities and grit in the trenches.
"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.
"They have a high school guy that they have signed and M.J. McFarland there as a flex. They wanted a guy that could put his head down and be hard-nosed. I like contact. I like hitting and being physical. That's what set me apart from some of the other tight ends."
But how do the Longhorns initially notice a tight end from Aaron Rogers' former junior college? Relationships. That simple.
"My coach at Butte [offensive coordinator Rob Snelling] played football at Boise State with Coach Harsin, so they know each other," Swaim said. "Coach Harsin gave my coach a call one day and asked if he had any tight ends, and that's how we made contact.
"We talked quite a few times and he asked me to come out on a visit. I am just getting back home right now. I really enjoyed the visit. Austin is a great place. I definitely enjoyed my time there."
"Coach Chambers just told me about the mentality he wants me to have, to come in and be a leader," Swaim said.
Swaim said that Butte's offense is similar to the Longhorns', and that appealed to him. In that offense, he was asked to do a lot of shifting and would line up as an H-back and fullback at times.
"I did a number of things at tight end and we ran the ball a lot so I wasn't asked to catch the ball that often," he said. "But when I did I caught the ball, put my head down and ran."
Swaim is Texas' 15th commitment and its first since safety Erik Huhn (Cibolo, Texas/Steele) committed June 3. His verbal pledge is a dose of much-needed positive news after the Longhorns' rough week of losing Ricky Seals-Jones, the nation's top wide receiver, who decommitted last week, while ESPN 150 cornerback Maurice Smith chose Alabama.