In today’s countdown to kickoff post, we highlight former Yellow Jacket and father of two current Yellow Jackets, #99 defensive end Pat Swilling.
When discussing the greatest Georgia Tech football players of all time, one player that often comes to mind for fans is defensive end Pat Swilling. A member of the famous “Black Watch” defense, Swilling is one of the greatest defensive players to ever suit up for the Yellow Jackets.
The Toccoa, Georgia native played for the Yellow Jackets from 1982 to 1985. Swilling had a phenomenal career on The Flats but his biggest achievement by far was when he set the NCAA record for sacks in a game with seven. The date was September 14, 1985 when the Yellow Jackets traveled to Raleigh to take on the N.C State Wolfpack. In that game, Swilling sacked N.C State quarterback Erik Kramer seven times.
Swilling would go onto to record 15 sacks in total that season and would go onto be an All-American that season for his efforts. He finished his career on The Flats with 23 career sacks and 285 career tackles.
Swilling would be a third-round pick in the 1986 draft by the New Orleans Saints. He spent 12 years in the NFL with three teams, New Orleans (seven seasons), Oakland (three seasons), Detroit (two seasons). Swilling had a tremendous NFL career, all things considered and saw himself earn several awards and achievements throughout his career. Among those was leading the NFL in sacks in 1991 and being a two-time All-Pro as well. He also a won a Defensive Player of the Year award (1991) and was selected to five Pro Bowls.
Swilling after his NFL career would settle in New Orleans, the city that drafted him. He would go onto have a son, Tre Swilling and would later adopt Bruce-Jordan. Together, the two brothers entered The Flats together as part of the 2016 signing class for the Yellow Jackets and represent the next generation of Swilling’s and hopefully for Tech fan’s the next generation of the “Black Watch”.
Overall, there hasn’t been many players to come through The Flats that were as great as Pat Swilling. He was a game changer on the defensive line and was a major part of one of the greatest defenses in college football history (depending on who you ask). With that, there are only 99 days until Georgia Tech takes on Clemson on August 29.