For 2017 5-Star D'Andre Swift, Speed Is the Name of the Game

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystJune 3, 2015

247 Sports

D'Andre Swift has scored his share of touchdowns on the football field and won his share of races in track and field. The Philadelphia 5-star prospect, in addition to being the top-ranked prospect out of Pennsylvania for the 2017 class, also is the class' top-ranked all-purpose back, according to 247Sports' Composite rankings.

Next month, Swift will be one of more than 160 players in attendance competing at Nike's The Opening, the prestigious four-day event of skills training, performance testing and 7-on-7 play among the nation's elite athletes in Beaverton, Oregon. Of those 160-plus, Swift is one of only seven incoming juniors invited after an outstanding showing at The Opening New York/New Jersey regional.

The July trip will be the reward of a constant reminder to himself, one he always holds in the back of his mind. It's a memory of when, once upon a time, he wasn't the guy in front—as in ever.

"I remember when I used to lose every time in track. I mean, every time," Swift said. "I started running at seven [years old] and didn't start competing until I was 10. I lost every race until I was 13."

Swift won his first track race, the 100-meter dash, competing in club track for Philadelphia-based The Athlete's Academy. Since then, the success stories haven't stopped—in football and track.

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For starters, it's only fitting for a player with the last name of "Swift" to have recorded a blazing 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds. At St. Joseph's Prep, Swift recorded nearly 1,300 all-purpose yards, averaged more than seven yards per carry and scored 10 rushing touchdowns and five receiving touchdowns as a sophomore, according to MaxPreps.com.

To add, Swift is nearing 20 offers from coast to coast. Among the schools to offer are Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

And then, there's that The Opening invitation, which Swift holds high among his multiple accolades.

"I've watched The Opening every year," Swift said. "When I got the call, I was so ecstatic, so happy. There is great competition there, and I'm looking to compete and put up great numbers, testing wise. Plus, I'm ready to meet all the great athletes from all over the country."

The Opening @TheOpening

S/O and Congrats to the 101st invite to #TheOpening Finals, St. Joseph's (PA) 2017 RB D'Andre Swift. #GOTOPEN http://t.co/3qhpenC9R2

At The Opening, Swift will get the chance to test his 40-yard dash, along with other events. He said he hasn't run the 40 since his freshman year participating at the U.S. Army All-American Combine in San Antonio. He didn't do any testing at The Opening regional but showed his overall skill set in drill after drill.

Swift, according to 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong, was one of the highlights of "Cat and Mouse," one of The Opening's popular one-on-one drills pitting a running back against a linebacker. Wiltfong said Swift—next to the nation's No. 1 player, defensive tackle Rashan Gary—was "arguably the best prospect on the field" at the New York Jets practice facility.

Swift said his goal in Oregon is simple: To show that his regional performance was not a fluke.

"I know I've got to get faster, and I'm trying to get all of the technical stuff handled," said Swift, who is trained by Kenroy Wallace, a former assistant track and field coach at Rutgers University-Camden who is now the owner and program director for The Athlete's Academy.

"My speed, that's a major part of my game. [Wallace] always told me I had the power, but he's been getting me right working on my hips and working on some small stuff."

Swift still has two years of high school left to play, and he said he's using this time to research all of the schools he's interested in. Although all of his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions point to him choosing Penn State, Swift said he is "wide open" and will look to summer visits to help compile a top five or top 10.

"I like Penn State; I like the coaches, and the facilities are great," Swift said. "I've been there the most, so I can see why people might say that's where I'm going, but I'm not looking to decide any time soon.

"Football is something I love to do. I know I have to perform every time I take the field. I've worked hard to be good at it. Now, I just do me on the field. I'm hoping that will take care of the rest."

Credit: 247Sports

Swift said he wants to visit Alabama and Florida State, and he's planning on visiting Georgia during a 7-on-7 trip with his team this weekend. Of those three, one school in particular is a place he said he's looking forward to seeing eventually.

"I want to get out to Florida State sometime soon," he said. "I like the way they do things over there. Watching coach Jimbo Fisher, he seems like a great coach to play for."

Swift then reiterated that all schools are still in the hunt. Finding a college isn't a priority for now. Getting better and shining at The Opening, however, are.

And you can believe that all the races he lost when he was younger will continue to be his fuel to the fire.

"The people who used to beat me, now they can't touch me," he said.

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles


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