Hello From The Distant Future: Erik Swenson Comment Count

Ace November 25th, 2013 at 4:59 PM

(photo via 247Sports)

Per Core 6 Athletes, 2016 Downers Grove (IL) South OT Erik Swenson committed to Michigan last night—yes, this is the pledge Brandon and others have been hinting at for the past couple days. Swenson is considered one of the top prospects in his class at this very early juncture; he visited Michigan for last summer's technique camp and the Notre Dame game, giving such glowing reviews of the school that he's long been thought of as a Wolverine lock.

Swenson is Michigan's first commit in the class of 2016. I guess I have to start deploying the "2016 recruiting" tag now.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp

As you can see, none of the four recruiting services have released rankings for the 2016 class; Scout named Swenson one of their initial four-star recruits—it's worth noting they only awarded six prospects five-star status—while Rivals named him as one of ten recruits to watch in the class and 247 placed him on a similar list of just six recruits; at this early stage, he's one of the most highly-regarded prospects in his class. Five-star status isn't out of the question by any means once his class gets evaluated more completely.

Swenson's listed measurables range from 6'5", 289 pounds (Rivals), to 6'7", 285 pounds (Scout and 247), with ESPN falling in between. Recent reports have listed him as large as 6'7", 290, and he's still just a sophomore in high school; dude is big.


Swenson has caught the eyes of scouts since he was in 8th grade and has started on the Downers Grove South varsity squad since his freshman year, so despite his youth there's actually a decent amount of scouting on him. Back in May, Illinois recruiting guru EdgyTim named Swenson first when discussing underclassmen to watch at the Rivals Chicago camp ($):

OT Erik Swenson (6-foot-7, 290 pounds) Downers Grove South 2016- just look at the sheer measureables and for a freshman in high school the overall size and potential of Swenson is off the charts. Now, this is NOT just your typical overhyped/overgrown kid who can't block the sun on a bright mid August day. Swenson showed last fall starting for the Mustangs that he's quickly becoming a technically savy blocker and is just getting better and better.

At that camp, Swenson was named the #2 performer($) among underclassmen despite being at least a year younger than most of his competition; Josh Helmholdt said Swenson was "raw in some of the technical aspects of the position, but he [played] light on his feet."

Participating against prospects as much as two years older than him at the Core 6 Big Man Camp, Swenson again impressed scouts, including 247's Steve Wiltfong:

Freshman offensive tackle Erik Swenson has all the tools to be highly recruited. At 6-foot-7, 285-pounds, he has a great frame, moves well, delivers a strong punch and held his own against the likes of [2014 Ohio State SDE commit Dylan] Thompson.

Swenson picked up his much-coveted Michigan offer later that month; the Wolverines were the second school to offer, following Illinois. That was before he even returned to Ann Arbor for June's technique camp, in which Allen Trieu said Swenson "continue[d] to show that he is ahead of his years."

By the time Swenson was named as one of Rivals's ten prospects to watch in the 2016 class in September, he'd picked up a couple more offers from top programs ($):

College coaches started getting excited about Swenson immediately after his freshman season, and he has already picked up offers from Illinois, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Measuring 6-foot-5 and 289 pounds at the Chicago Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour last May, Swenson has all the tools of a dominant future left tackle. He plays light on his feet, can locate in space and is already showing the patience to not overextend. That is not to say Swenson is a finished product, but physically he has nothing limiting him from being an elite left tackle prospect.

Tim Sullivan made his way down to Illinois to watch Swenson in actual game action; he noted that Swenson has plenty of room to add weight, especially in his lower body, despite the fact that he's already 290 pounds with little bad weight on him, and came away very impressed with both his run- and pass-blocking ($):

Impressively, Swenson is equally adept at run blocking and pass blocking. He drives very well when the ball is run behind him (the game-winning touchdown run features him caving half the Morton defense, allowing some of his fellow blockers to clean up the remaining Morton players), and has a solid pass set without overextending himself.

Playing with a lower pad level was noted as an area for improvement, as it quite often is for young linemen.

Michigan appears to be getting a prototype left tackle with Swenson's huge frame and quick feet; if he improves from a technical standpoint—and remember, he's just finishing up his sophomore season—he could develop into a truly dominant lineman. That's certainly the goal, based on this quote from his father, the spectacularly-named Swen Swenson, to GBW's Josh Newkirk after Erik picked up his Michigan offer ($):

“Erik is a left tackle and it’s matter of dreaming of playing in the Big House, and falling in the footsteps of Jake Long and soon to be Taylor Lewan, who will probably go No. 1 in the draft next year if he stays healthy. Those are kind of hard footsteps not to want to follow, are they?” sail [sic] the elder Swenson.

Indeed, Swen. Indeed.


Swenson held offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Illinois, Northwestern, and Akron in addition to his Michigan offer, according to Rivals. Scout also lists an Oregon offer; 247 shows interest but no offer from the likes of Florida State, Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska, UCLA, and Vanderbilt.


Downers Grove South has produced three players ranked three-stars or better in the Rivals era (2002-present), all of whom went to Illinois. That includes 2003 five-star OL Martin O'Donnell, a four-year starter at guard for the Illini and a first-team AP All-American as a senior; he decided to give up football after his college career due to injuries.


OL, no stats.


None listed that I can find.


YouTube has highlights of a freshman Swenson, looking like anything but a freshman, in his first year as a varsity starter:

Single game cut-ups from this season are available on his Hudl page.


Swenson is pretty clearly a left tackle prospect with a ton of potential; at this point in his development, that's about as much as I'm willing to project. His size, coupled with the fact that he's fared so well against older competition at various camps—not to mention as a starter from day one at the varsity level—bodes well for his ability to contribute at a relatively early stage when he reaches college. Michigan hasn't even finished recruiting offensive linemen for the 2015 class, so any conjecture about the depth chart is pretty worthless right now.


Ditto for this. Swenson will be one of the highest-rated recruits—and quite possibly the flat-out highest-rated—in Michigan's 2016 class; beyond that, there's still far too much left to unfold in the 2014 and 2015 classes to say much here.



November 25th, 2013 at 5:10 PM ^

He's 6 foot 5, 289 pounds right now. How big was he in 8th grade - he must have endangered people's lives with his blocks/tackles. My goodness.

Welcome to the fold.

so bored at work

November 25th, 2013 at 5:22 PM ^

Great news, very glad to have this young man aboard. May this be just the start of a historically great week for Michigan football.

(side note: at 32, it feels very odd to refer to someone as a "young man," but if the extremely large shoe fits...)


November 25th, 2013 at 6:52 PM ^

But you act like recruiting has no impact on on-field results.  If we were pulling in more guys like Swenson in the years before Hoke arrived, we might be looking a lot better.  

I know that recruiting isn't really the problem though.  Coaching is the bigger issue.  That said, having tons of talent when the coaching gets straightened out will certainly help.


November 26th, 2013 at 9:58 AM ^

just amazing, welcome to the family.  Learn as much as you can while in high school, it will make your life much more enjoyable in ann arbor.  Hope you continue working on getting better and stay hungry to be the best LT in the country and go number 1 in the draft after an amazing senior season


November 25th, 2013 at 6:22 PM ^

The more highly ranked OL, the better.  And good to get such a highly rated prospect in early.  Hopefully he'll not only follow in the Long/Lewan footsteps, but the Morris/Ferns footsteps and be an additional recruiter.

Also, when did Akron offer?  It would be kind of funny if they did right after the UofM game: after nearly beating us on the field, maybe the thought they'd take a run at us on the recruiting trail.  Otherwise, one of those listed schools is not like the others.


November 25th, 2013 at 6:34 PM ^

Soon we will be recruiting them from the womb Gattaca-style.  Welcome, Mr. Swenson, we are extremely pleased to learn you will be part of our great University.  By the time you arrive Team 136 should be on a winning roll.  Keen timing young man.


November 26th, 2013 at 1:51 PM ^

Erik will be in his senior season of HS when team 136 is playing, and I would say red-shirting on Team 137... but after this season, no guarantees! He may be starting!
Glad to have such physically talented young players dream of donning the Maize, Blue & Winged Helmet. Some things are just bigger than the hopefully temporary struggles of this season.
Go Blue!


November 25th, 2013 at 6:42 PM ^

It should be noted that his wearing #77 is no accident.  It's been reported that his parents are Michigan fans, and he idolizes Jake Long and Taylor Lewan, and has a Michigan #77 jersey hanging up in his bedroom.




November 25th, 2013 at 7:10 PM ^

Like Peppers this kid grew up with Michigan in the household so a solid get.  Not to be a "debbie downer" but these OL recruits are very interesting to me because how do you judge a kid who probably outweighs everyone he plays by 40 lbs and a few inches?  I know "camps" but going 1 v 1 in a non football game is just not the same as the real thing.  It just seems like such a tough position to judge in HS.  Is the guy who has to learn more technique because he is 6'1 265 in HS as a junior more likely to suceed then a guy who just has to step on a field and by sheer strength win almost every battle as a 6'5 290 sophomore?   That is crazy size by the way at that age, larger than Magnuson.  Just really impossible to project these kids due to the size differential versus opponents.

2016 - gosh that is a long time from now.


November 25th, 2013 at 7:56 PM ^

But part of that projection is simply that he is that big, which not many kids are.  That's like saying that it's hard to tell if a bball recruit is good or if he's dominant just because he's 6'11".  The mere fact that he's that tall is half the battle. 

Even if Swenson doesn't grow an inch, he already has D1 size.  Big box checked right there.  But if you read the scouting report, it shows that he's a lot more than just a huge kid already, which is very rare. 


November 26th, 2013 at 2:00 PM ^

It's actually nothing like comparing an OL to a hoops player, because as we've seen this season, the level of coordination & teamwork involved in OL is unlike even any other area of football, much less hoops.
If a guy is tall & coordinated, dominating his competition in b.ball when in HS I'm pretty confident he'll be tall, coordinated and at least very, very good (in the 1 or 2 years he spends in college!)
Kyle Kalis demonstrates the clear difference, unfortunately. Good news is he'll be a RS senior when Swenson arrives!


November 25th, 2013 at 7:10 PM ^

Some pretty good quotes from Swen Swenson in a CSNChicago item on his son's commitment to "his dream school":

"Erik is just a pretty simple kind of kid. He's not into traveling across the country and doesn't want to take official visits and waste people's time and money. He has wanted to go to Michigan since he was a little kid. He truly had no desire to go anywhere else. He loves the school, the tradition and everything that is Michigan. He will get a great education and will get a chance to play at a high level. My wife and I just could not see him at any other school. Michigan has great people in and around the program. Erik was ready to commit at the Notre Dame game but I wanted him to slow down just a bit and really think it through. He said to me this weekend "I'm done" and I believed him."