After ‘waiting my turn,’ Dogs’ Damian Swann ready to produce

ATHENS – After a quiet freshman season last year, Georgia cornerback Damian Swann is looking forward to making some noise.

A celebrated member of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Super 11 team in high school, Swann played sparingly last season at a well-stocked position. But with the graduation of three-year starter Brandon Boykin and the two-game suspension of senior Sanders Commings, Georgia now needs and expects much from Swann.

“It’s time to get to business,” he said this week.

For the first two games –- the Sept. 1 home opener against Buffalo and the Sept. 8 SEC opener at Missouri – Georgia’s top cornerbacks figure to be, in no particular order: Branden Smith, a senior who started seven games last year; Malcolm Mitchell, a sophomore who moved from wide receiver to defense amid much fanfare in the spring; and Swann.

“When I came in, I was behind some top guys, and I just had to wait my turn,” Swann said. “We lost a key player when Boykin graduated, and I feel those shoes are going to be real big to fill. I feel like I’m going to be that guy to step up and do it.”

Swann gained the attention of coaches and teammates with a strong spring practice that culminated with him being named the defense’s most improved player. By all accounts, that progress has continued through preseason drills.

“I think [Swann] has done a really good job,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said recently. “He’s a guy I think as we move forward can be really good at that position.

“He’s done a good job in the weight room because, to play there, you’ve got to have some physicality to you. He’s added weight [up to about 188 pounds]; he’s physical, and he’s a really smart player who has the instincts to understand where he needs to be based on the release of the wide receivers.”

Swann said he has worked in the nickel-back spot covering the slot in five-defensive-back sets, as well as “the normal cornerback positions.”

“I’m very comfortable being able to play each one and knowing exactly what’s going on [with] the scheme we’re running,” he said. “That comes with playing behind Boykin and having a full spring at it and going through fall camp at it. I’ve been progressing.

“I feel like once I made my presence known in the spring that I was ready to play and wanted to be one of the top guys, everybody looked at me, like, ‘Swann is going to be a guy who’s going to help us this year.’ … I want to be a playmaker, be a guy that’s accountable.”

He said he expects “for the most part” to be a starter, but if not “I know I’ll be counted on to come out and play.”

Such expectations come naturally to him. What didn’t come naturally was the freshman season in which he appeared in 11 games but started only one.

After all, he had been a four-year starter on offense, defense and special teams at Atlanta’s Grady High and came to Georgia in the much-hyped (and now attrition-diminished) 2011 “Dream Team” recruiting class.

“I’m pretty sure it’d be an adjustment for anyone being one of the top guys throughout the whole country,” Swann said. But he added that he was prepared for the learning experience.

“This level right here is very different from high school,” he said. “Right now, we are in an NFL scheme. So I just learned as much as I could, waiting my turn.”

– Chip Towers contributed to this article.

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56 comments Add your comment

Joey

August 23rd, 2012
5:23 pm

“It’s time to get to business”
**********************
Ain’t that the truth.

Get em Damian.

Go Dawgs!

Joey

August 23rd, 2012
5:26 pm

…and, thanks for the good stories, Tim.

AugustaDawg

August 23rd, 2012
5:35 pm

One week from tonight the SEC kicks off. It would be nice for Vandy to pull off the “upset”. Ready to see the Dawgs in action.

chilidawg

August 23rd, 2012
5:37 pm

tick tock…

kingdaddy

August 23rd, 2012
5:37 pm

Let that Big Dawg eat!!!

Vandy is not ready and will not be for one more year

August 23rd, 2012
5:44 pm

SC over Vandy by 14. 31-17 sound about right in a boring game.

Vandy will be punished this year by UGA for that loud mouth coach of theirs.

Game Changer

August 23rd, 2012
5:44 pm

glad he is playing for our UGA FOOTBALL team. Hope he has a fruitful career.

In a few years D Swann will start kicking himself for the rest of his life for not signing a major league baseball contract.

UGA football fans

August 23rd, 2012
5:48 pm

Tired of the losers on the ajc blogs posting under 10 names to bash the Dawgs and irritate people? FACEBOOK.COM/AJCUGA. A place for real Dawg fans to show support, discuss the articles, talk about the Dawgs. Like the page today, right now even.

Top Row Dawg

August 23rd, 2012
5:56 pm

Swan, Gurley, Schmitt, Smith, Mitchell, Norman, Andrews, keep the upbeat stories coming. Haters gonna really hate with the success coming this season.

Sunbury Ga dawg

August 23rd, 2012
5:59 pm

1st?

If not go dawgs!

Destin Dawg

August 23rd, 2012
6:05 pm

super great TEAM attitude .. energy vampires are gone.. improved S & C. and nutrition program, Grantham’s 3 rd year of 3/4 defense.. Richt’s more aggressive play calling ( hopefully ? ).. SEC Champs THIS YEAR !!!

Destin Dawg

August 23rd, 2012
6:07 pm

watch Vandy throw some off the wall stuff at the Game Clucks !!

Gamechanger is clueless

August 23rd, 2012
6:07 pm

Is it possible for the gamechanger not to make a stupid statement, and please don’t say ours we referring to Georgia, you are a clueless troll. John Jenkins ineligible yet?

LIKE IT RIGHT NOW!

August 23rd, 2012
6:08 pm

facebook.com/ajcuga

Game Changer

August 23rd, 2012
6:09 pm

Vandy pushed the UGA defense all over the field while cummings ran his mouth the whole time and Grantham had his head up his Arse. One ankle tackle kept Vandy from beating UGA last year.

Gamechanger is clueless

August 23rd, 2012
6:14 pm

Still another idiotic comment , don’t even know which UGA player Grantham was defending. How about 3 missed FGs from it being a blowout clueless one?

Big Crimson 75

August 23rd, 2012
6:19 pm

King — Ya think MC got the message concerning you-know-who & the ga-zillion articles written about him!!?

OkieDawg

August 23rd, 2012
6:27 pm

Gamechanger…It was Shawn Williams that was called out by Franklin, not Sanders Commings…Duh. And by the way, it’s Commings not cummings. You are a real dummy, dummy.

kingdaddy

August 23rd, 2012
6:28 pm

Big Crim
All I said was “Nobody cares!”, and he deleted it, lol. What’s up with that? I think sometimes he needs Midol…

Worm

August 23rd, 2012
6:32 pm

Tim Tucker-Now there’s a breath of fresh air..Don’t be a stranger.

Holy Guacamole

August 23rd, 2012
6:37 pm

I like Swann’s attitude. Goes to show that you can come from the inner city schools and have character. I wish him only the best. Hope we get more like him.

Phoenix

August 23rd, 2012
6:38 pm

Okie Dawg – go get em,

BigDawg

August 23rd, 2012
6:48 pm

I too would be plenty of vitriol if I attended any of the lesser schools that some of these green with envy people did (they probably didn’t, they just support others).

Destin Dawg

August 23rd, 2012
6:54 pm

Damian says ” we’re in an NFL scheme ” and he’s learning.. thanks to Grantham.. Junkyard dawgs are BBAAAACCCCKKKK !

Most incoherent post of the day award goes to...

August 23rd, 2012
7:05 pm

BigDawg

August 23rd, 2012
6:48 pm
I too would be plenty of vitriol if I attended any of the lesser schools that some of these green with envy people did (they probably didn’t, they just support others).

bucket

August 23rd, 2012
7:46 pm

@ UGA Football Fans – I bet I can spot a few that are on these blogs constantly that won’t be visiting your page because they prefer to stay in the closet as opposed to having to show their faces!

bitter troll

August 23rd, 2012
8:04 pm

If Crow had a brain, he may have sound much closer to swain

————–1 man plays in the SEC—–1 man plays with tonka trucks

——-Go Dawgs——————bamma stinks

Hard Truth Soldier

August 23rd, 2012
8:05 pm

Glad to see this young man doing so good, and working so hard. Let me say this as a African American man, I’m glad to see you doing something positive, and not looking like the “Honey Badger”, Isiah Crowell, Da’ Rick Rodgers, Michael Dyer, Corey Moore, Nick Marshall, and so many more that are embarrassing the community. I know if a White guy would’ve said this he would’ve been persecuted, but this needs to be said. Black Student Athletes wake the hell up.

Spike 80DF

August 23rd, 2012
8:30 pm

^^^Corey Moore? I assume you’re talking about Chris Sanders right?^^^

Beast from the East

August 23rd, 2012
8:41 pm

DILLIGAF

August 23rd, 2012
8:42 pm

I want to reiterate what others have said, Chip.

Thanks for the excellent coverage, reports and interviews that you are producing.

Nine days away until the start of the season and you are definately doing your part in firing up the faithful. Keep up the good work.

GATA!
UGA/85

Game Changer

August 23rd, 2012
8:43 pm

OUR UGA football team has alot to live up to in 2012 by way of reading the expectations of many fans posting.

SEC EAST record last 6 seasons: 17 wins / 13 loses 56%

Never in 21 years has UGA gone undefeated in the SEC EAST / 21 years

Alot on the table for 2012

DILLIGAF

August 23rd, 2012
8:45 pm

I meant to say “great job Tim”, not Chip, I had just finished reading Chip’s post then this one.

Sorry about that.

Gamechanger is clueless

August 23rd, 2012
9:16 pm

Gamechanger , quit posing , you’re a sleazy little troll, that doesn’t know his A$$ from his elbow..

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slydog

August 24th, 2012
1:33 am

Yeah, he’s talking about Sanders, not Moore, who will definitely see alot of playing time this year and may even start a few games.

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zbulldawg

August 24th, 2012
6:52 am

Attrition Diminished 2011 Dream Team. BOY aweful big words with very little dept ! The Dream Team hasn’t took over yet ? The Dream Team just started in” 2011 ” It’s still building We’ll see some of the ground work that has been laid this year. It’s an on going process that will continue for years to come ! “Get used to it” This years team WILL be the spring board for years & Years & YEARS ! WE’RE BACK !!!!!!!!! GETUSUM or GET OUT of THE WAY ( LET THE BIG DAWG EAT)

zbulldawg

August 24th, 2012
7:07 am

That’s right kingdaddy !!!!!!!!! That BIG DAWG’S HUNGRY. It’s been abused, misused & Tied to the Whipping Post !

WDE

August 24th, 2012
11:10 am

@Beast of the East thanks for sharing….and we can please just tee it up and play!!

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August 24th, 2012
12:56 pm

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