Maurice Swain is 6-foot-6, 305 pounds, which would usually suggest a career as an offensive tackle. However, Swain’s coach at Troup High School in LaGrange, Ga., said that Swain’s athleticism is so outstanding that he not only belongs on the defensive side of the ball, but he could play defensive end if need be.
“He’s very strong,” Troup coach Lynn Kendall said. “He’s also very agile, very fast defensive lineman. He’s got great quickness off the ball. At 6-5, 6-6, he’s got really good size, but he has flexibility, too. He has played the defensive end position as well. He has a lot of flexibility on the line of scrimmage. He has great hands, which is really important as a defensive lineman. And he understands defensive line play from a scheme standpoint.”
Swain did play some offensive line at Troup, Kendall said, but his focus was always on the defensive end, and he spent much of his time in opposing backfields. He recorded 65 tackles this season, Kendall said, including seven sacks and 15 tackles for loss, and also had 33 quarterback hurries. He also intercepted a pass at the line of scrimmage and took it back for a touchdown.
Kendall said he Swain has the frame to put on more weight and still not lose athleticism, and could remain as quick as he is at 315 or 320. The biggest thing he needs to work on, Kendall said, is pad level.
“He just needs to work on staying low,” Kendall said. “And that’s pretty typical. Tall guys are used to being tall all the time. Of course, we tell players all the time they have to stay low, and for a coach, it’s never good enough. … He just has to be very conscious about keeping his pad level down, but he’s a very good fundamental player.”
Kendall said Swain picked Indiana over Washington and San Diego State and didn’t have his mind made up until about 3 a.m. today.
“I think he weighed a lot of factors into it, but he had good positive experiences at Indiana,” Kendall said.