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Hawkeyes offer scholarship to high school freshman

[ 0 ] May 8, 2014 |

Should Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz fail to land running back recruit D’Andre Swift, it won’t be from a lack of trying.

Swift, who is nearing the end of his freshman year at St. Joseph’s Preparatory High School in Philadelphia, Pa., recently announced on Twitter that he had received a scholarship offer from Iowa, saying that he felt blessed.

The offer puts Swift in select company as one of the few high school freshmen to receive a scholarship offer from Iowa.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz autographs several helmets and footballs before the Polk County I-Club event at the Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz autographs several helmets and footballs before the Polk County I-Club event at the Sheraton Hotel in West Des Moines.

“I’m not surprised,” St. Joseph’s football coach Gabe Infante said Thursday when asked about the offer coming this soon. “D’Andre is a very special back. He is going to be a national recruit. I’ve been coaching ball for 17 years and I’ve been at some pretty good programs and he is the best back I’ve ever seen, either had or defended. He’s special. He’s different.”

Swift reportedly has at least five scholarship offers. Syracuse also recently offered him a scholarship, as have Rutgers, Delaware and Villanova. Swift’s list of offers is expected to keep growing, considering he still has three years to play in high school.

“We tell our kids it’s not about getting a thousand offers, it’s about getting the right offers,” Infante said. “So our kids are pretty humble when it comes to that stuff.”

Although it’s way too early to say where Iowa stands with the 5-foot-9, 203-pound Swift, Ferentz’s staff does have some connections in this case.

Infante played football at Holy Cross while current Iowa running backs coach Chris White was an assistant coach at the school. White is now the lead recruiter for Swift.

In addition to that, Mark Shaw, who coaches the tight ends for St. Joseph’s, played for Ferentz at Maine in the early 1990s.

“The best thing about Iowa is coach Ferentz and the staff there,” Infante said. “I have a long relationship with Chris White, the running back coach there. He actually coached me in college. Coach Shaw has a great relationship with coach Ferentz.

“There are a lot of reasons why I think Iowa is a great school and a great program. So I think that’s more important than anything. Getting an early offer is one thing, but to get an early offer from a program of that merit is what makes it really neat.”

Infante described Swift as the total package on and off the field. In addition to being a standout sprinter in track, where he stars in the 400-meter dash, Smith also attends a school that prides itself in academics.

“Our school academically is a very difficult school,” Infante said. “I think that also probably factors into it, too. You’re getting a high-character kid, a great student and just an exceptional athlete.”

Asked to describe what makes Swift special as a running back, Infante said:

“He’s very developed right now for his age. He’s just exceptional, his change of direction, his explosiveness, power, ability to accelerate. He’s just a very, very unique back.”

However, unlike his last name, Infante said Swift, who rushed for about 800 yards as a freshman last fall, is in no hurry to start the recruiting process.

“Right now, he’s taking it in stride,” Infante said. “He’s more worried about freshman Latin than he is about who he’s going to commit to. So there are more important things for him to focus in on.

“But it’s great for the kid. It gives him something to shoot for and it’s great motivation that he can do it. We’re excited for him.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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