Had it not been for Bryan Harsin, there’s no telling where Longhorns tight end commitment Geoff Swaim (Oroville, Calif./Butte Community College) might be playing college football next season.
Harsin discovered Swaim when he asked Butte College offensive coordinator Rob Snelling, a teammate at Boise State, whether he had any solid blocking tight ends worth keeping an eye on. Snelling pointed at Swaim, who signed with Texas on June 12.
Swaim was looking forward to getting down to Austin to play in Harsin’s offense. The two last spoke about that Sunday, when Harsin and coach Mack Brown stopped by Swaim’s house for an in-home visit. Two days later, Harsin accepted the top job at Arkansas State.
“Obviously, I was surprised,” Swaim said.
While he didn’t see it coming, Swaim understands Harsin’s decision.
“All my friends asked me if I was p---ed off. I’m not,” he said. “For him it is an opportunity you have to jump at. It’s like anything in life, you want to get to the highest point you can. My biggest dream is to be in the NFL. As a coach your dream is to be a head coach. I can’t blame him. I would have a hard time not going either. That’s a hell of an opportunity.”
Swaim’s main concern immediately centered around what his role would be under the new coaching staff. Harsin brought him in to be a blue-collar blocking tight end. Would that change?
“I talked to the coaches [Stacy Searels and Bruce Chambers] today and they said they were going to keep doing what we were doing,” Swaim said. “They are selling me on the same role. It was reassuring.
“They were just saying that they still wanted me here for the same reasons, to run block, to fullback to H-back. That’s what I signed up to do. I am still all in. It doesn’t change my philosophy or opinion on Texas with Harsin not there.”
There were plenty of factors in Swaim’s decision to commit to Texas, a main one being the bonds he built with some of the players who will be returning next season.
Sure, Harsin leaving isn’t ideal to Swaim simply because Harsin was the one who gave him the opportunity, but he’s excited to be able to play with his friends.
“It’s still going to be the same guys that I am going to be playing with,” he said. “All of the guys that are signed from high school I really won’t play with that much because a lot of them will redshirt and I only have two years. So I will still be playing with the same guys that I hung out with on my visit like [Jaxon] Shipley and [M.J.] McFarland, which is really why I wanted to go there because of those guys.”
At the end of the day, Swaim understands that college football is a sport but it’s “a business too.” And for that, he can’t be mad at Harsin.
“It is unfortunate that I can’t play for him,” he said. “He’s the one who recruited me and the one that brought me in. Obviously I am still really thankful for the opportunity and real thankful that he saw something in me. I have no bad feelings for the guy. He has to do what he has to do.”