Georgia Tech linebacker Bruce Jordan-Swilling will have more pressure on him to perform in 2018 but the additional pressure and snaps could turn the former top recruit into a star for the Yellow Jackets in 2018 and beyond.
One of the highest touted prospects to land on The Flats in recent memory, Bruce Jordan-Swilling entered his career at Tech in 2017 with lofty expectations set upon him. After all, he was a four-star prospect and was highly recruited including a late push by Southern California prior to signing day.
Last season, Jordan-Swilling was able to get a good taste of the college level and showed great promise but also had his struggles. Ultimately, Jordan-Swilling appeared in all 11-games for the Yellow Jackets and recorded 34 tackles in the process. He also showed his play making abilities by recording two tackles for a loss, one force fumble, one fumble recovery, and one interception returned for a touchdown.
With an expanded role in 2018 that includes being a projected starter, Jordan-Swilling could become even a more impactful player and could become a star for the Yellow Jackets for not just 2018 but for possibly the next three years and here’s why.
With the departure of former defensive coordinator Ted Roof, the Yellow Jackets also said good bye to his 4-3 defense that was known for being a pretty underwhelming defense that lacked making big plays especially in clutch situations and left more to be desired. With Nate Woody coming to the Flats as the newest defensive coordinator, the Jackets could see a much more aggressive and game-changing defense in 2018 though it may take a few weeks to bear the desired results.
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During Nate Woody’s time at Appalachian State, the Mountaineers had a highly disruptive defense. The Mountaineers defense never finished with less than 30 sacks. Last season, they finished with 38 sacks including 14 out of a trio of linebackers. Which spells great news for the Jackets linebackers especially Jordan-Swilling.
The Mountaineers loved having athletic linebackers on their defense and the Yellow Jackets have just that on their own roster and Jordan-Swilling may just be the most athletic of them all.
Ultimately, Jordan-Swilling’s play making chances will be determined by how Nate Woody and the Jackets coaching staff want to use the Louisiana native. Will they want Jordan-Swilling to be a player who is more of a “stay at home” linebacker or be a more of linebacker who is responsible for getting into the backfield?
If they want the former four-star recruit to be a “stay at home” linebacker, he’ll be in charge of making sure the middle of the field is covered and will be responsible for opposing teams receivers or running backs who come across the middle.
While he won’t have as many chances to create havoc in the backfield, he will have the chance to lock down the middle of the field and become a strong coverage linebacker which could mean chances at pass deflections and interceptions.
If the Jackets decide to allow him to be more of a linebacker who gets to the line of scrimmage and the backfield, he will have plenty of opportunities for tackles for a loss, sacks, and fumbles to say the least. He’ll be responsible for clogging the middle run gaps, stopping ball carriers from getting beyond the line of scrimmage while also trying to get into the backfield for tackles for a loss and obviously sacks on the pass rush.
When considering Jordan-Swilling’s athleticism and overall skill set, it seems he’d be better suited for the latter role. His overall speed and agility will allow him to get in sneak through opposing offensive lines in various schemes including blitzing schemes when there is more congestion in the middle of the offensive line.
Allowing Jordan-Swilling to be more of a pass rusher will also give the Yellow Jackets the best chances of keeping his mistakes low. In passing coverage, he would have responsibilities that he may not be ready for yet in the eyes of the coaching staff. If he’s not ready for such responsibilities, it could result in major miscues on defense that result in huge plays for opposing offenses.
Of course, he will still have plenty of responsibilities in the pass rush and in packages to stop the run but the chances of him making as crucial as a mistake are much lower.
For the Yellow Jackets, a breakout season by Jordan-Swilling that sees him become a star would be desirable to say the least. After this the Jackets will be losing both Brant Mitchell and Victor Alexander as they enter their senior seasons on The Flats.
Of course by having two senior linebackers in the middle of the defense, some of the pressure will be taken off Jordan-Swilling. However, the Jackets also will want to see the legacy take the next step in his development. He doesn’t have to turn into a star linebacker per say in 2018 but for the Jackets defense to be strong in 2019, they’ll need him to take that next step into becoming a defensive leader.
But with all that being said, let’s get back to the original point of this article. In 2018, Bruce Jordan-Swilling has a chance to become a star for the Yellow Jackets defensively, a star the defense has lacked for years and one that could be a game changer. Players like Jordan-Swilling don’t come around often on The Flats especially on defense. His skillset that includes great speed and agility for a linebacker will fit greatly into the Jackets new defensive 3-4 base under defensive coordinator Nate Woody.
With the abilities to be both a strong pass rusher/run defender and a potentially strong coverage linebacker, the Jackets have flexibility with the rising sophomore. While he’s better suited talent wise for trying to get into the backfield, his flexibility could help lead to his development into a star and possible All-ACC type linebacker.
It’s not a sure thing that Jordan-Swilling will be a star for the Yellow Jackets in 2018 or maybe ever but the one thing that is certain is that he will have all the chances in the world in 2018 barring injury to develop into the star defensive player that the Jackets have needed for so long.