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December 17, 2013
Analyst: Eric Swenson has five-star potential
He's big - mammoth, really, especially for a 15-year-old - has the prototypical left tackle body and is extremely ahtleitc. Downer's Grove, Ill., standout Erik Swenson is, in fact, everything a college coach looks for when recruiting offensive linemen.
Not just any coaches, either. When the South High School standout pledged to Michigan, he chose the Wolverines over Notre Dame, Ohio State and others who had offered the 6-5, 292-pounder early.
It was a coup not only in the Midwest, but also nationally, Rivals.com analyst Josh Helmholdt said.
"When I first saw him was at a banquet last December, and immediately when you look at him you can see he's ideally sized," Helmholdt said. "It was 6-5, 289 that we measured him at this summer's Rivals camp. You look at that kid and he is exactly what you want a left tackle to be. His dad is like 6-8 and has several inches on him so you figure he's a sophomore that's 15 years old, he probably comes to Michigan easily 6-6 or 6-7, has good length in his arms and from a size standpoint, a prototypical left tackle body."
Now it's about putting it to use. By all accounts, Swenson enjoyed an outstanding sophomore year. Helmholdt predicted he would after seeing the standout over the summer.
Though not in pads, Swenson more than held his own in drills against veteran, elite competition.
"He's developing in both run and pass blocking and is very good, ahead of the curve in both from a technique standpoint," Helmholdt reported. "We put him against some top defensive ends in the country at the camp, including Harrison Phillips, who signed with Stanford, a national championship wrestler. We threw a freshman Eric Swenson against him and he more than held his own. The three or four times they went head to head, I'd give a slight nod to Swenson. It was impressive how he rose to the challenge and didn't break down. A lot of kids will step in there against that kind of talent and start reaching, stop moving their feet. The technique breaks down. That didn't happen.
"From both that technique and size standpoint, he's so far ahead of other kids his age with the ability to get even bigger looking at his dad. Strength wise, he does a very good job. He's well ahead in all aspects compared to other future Division I offensive linemen."
Off the field Swenson is a very polite, considerate young man, Helmholdt added, but one who is starting to "get a little bit of a fire to him" on the field. That's an area scouts want to see before they tab him one of the elite.
"You want to see him be a mean son of a gun with a nastiness that sets apart elite offensive linemen," Helmholdt said. "He doesn't have that yet. I would say that's the one of the areas we want to see out of him over the next coupe years."
Don't confuse that with being soft, however.
"I think he does a good job using his size advantage over smaller high school kids - he's just not mean and nasty yet," Helmholdt added. "I don't think there's anything that says he can't get that way. He's polite but passionate, but polite, and passion is what turns into a mean streak That's what you're looking for."
That could be just what it takes to elevate him to five-star status.
"Over the summer we put up 10, class of 2015 prospects to watch. He was one of them," Helmholdt said. "I think unless his progression stunts out or something this offseason, he should be in the discussion for five star. There are some things we have to see before he gets to that level - a little fire, continued progression in each aspect of his game. As long as he does that, he should be in the conversation."