July 7, 2009

Swilling still deliberating, but five stand out

Patrick Swilling had hoped to choose a college by the end of this summer.

There's been a change of plans, however. He's now hoping to choose the sport he plans to play by the start of his senior year before going about making the decision regarding where he'll spend the next four or five years of his life.

Swilling, a 6-foot-4, 218-pound outside linebacker/shooting guard from New Orleans (Brother Martin), La., doesn't plan to play both sports at the college level, though the prospect is tempting.

"It would be hard for anyone to play two sports," Swilling said. "For instance, (LSU safety/pitcher) Chad Jones is trying to play football and baseball and it's hard and those sports don't overlap. It's probably out of the question, though I might try it as a freshman."

Swilling, the son of former NFL star linebacker Pat Swilling, will spend some time in the next few weeks playing basketball in Miami, Las Vegas and California before returning to New Orleans for his senior season. Swilling's basketball suitors include offers from USC, Florida and LSU. Several other programs, including Ole Miss, are evaluating him as a combination point guard/shooting guard.

His list of football offers totals 13, and on Tuesday, he named a top five. Swilling said LSU, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Auburn _ in no particular order _ are the football programs that stand out.

"I like Ole Miss a lot," Swilling said. "It's close to home. My family could see me play. There's a newness to their program. I liked Coach (Houston) Nutt at Arkansas. They also have a lot of players from Louisiana who are either starting on their team or playing on their team. That's attractive. It's a good academic school. I'm friends with their center (Rishaw Johnson) and a couple of their basketball players, (former signee Brandon Wilson and sophomore forward Terrance Henry). They've told me good things. What I've heard is they have a good business program and right now, that's what I'm looking into as a major."

Ole Miss' primary competition likely comes in the form of LSU and Georgia Tech, the Tigers for their proximity to his home and the Yellow Jackets for the strong family ties to the program.

"LSU is the home-state school, so everyone around here loves purple and gold, but I've always been different," Swilling said. "My dad went to Georgia Tech. My mom's not a big LSU fan. I'm an LSU fan, but it's not my dream school or anything like that.

"I get asked about Georgia Tech a lot. I also have two uncles (Ken Swilling and Daryl Swilling) who also went there and played. There's a lot going on at Georgia Tech, but I'm not pressured by my dad to go to Georgia Tech. He wants me to go to the place that's the best situation for me."

Swilling said he's a similar player to his father, a 5-time Pro-Bowl selection who played 12 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders, accumulating 468 tackles and 107 quarterback sacks.

"I was a young kid when he was still playing, but I got to see him play quite a bit," Swilling said. "I can remember going on the field and into the locker room when he was with Oakland. I don't remember much from when he played for the Saints.

"A lot of people tell me I'm growing at the same rate as he did and we have similar speed. But the difference is I'm bigger than he is at this time and his family is traditionally late bloomers."

Swilling said most schools are recruiting him as a strong safety or outside linebacker, though Tennessee is interested in looking at him as a wide receiver. On Tuesday, Swilling said that won't play a role in his decision.

"Most likely I'm just going to pick the school that's the best fit for me," Swilling said. "If you go on the field, anyone can make plays. The school, the academics and the family feeling is what's going to basically let me pick the school."

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