By now, most college football programs are deep into recruiting the class of 2012.
But Brandon Swindall is happy Utah State wasn’t finished with 2011 yet.
Swindall, the Millwood receiver who earned a spot on the Parade All-America team after a stellar senior season, committed to Utah State on Friday, ending a surprisingly long, frustrating recruiting process.
“I can’t even tell you what it was like,” Swindall said. “But I don’t have to worry about it anymore. Everyone was relieved.”
Swindall started drawing college interest last summer and several big-name programs, like Houston, Arkansas and Nebraska, looked hard at him. Tulsa offered early, but fell off. And New Mexico came in later, but the coach who was recruiting Swindall got another job — at Utah State.
That coach was Sallisaw native and Utah State alum Matt Wells, who also spent a few years on the staff at Tulsa. He was brought in to be the quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator for the Aggies, where he lettered in three seasons playing quarterback.
As the staff looked for the person to fill its final scholarship spot, Wells fought hard for Swindall, with the offer finally coming on Thursday.
“He was recruiting me for a long time when he was at New Mexico,” Swindall said. “Then he went to Utah State, so I had a good relationship with him. He called me a couple days ago and said they wanted to offer me.”
Swindall had more than 1,300 receiving yards and 17 touchdown catches in helping the Falcons to the Class 2A semifinals last season. He set himself apart with his long body, leaping ability, good hands and knack for adjusting to the ball when it’s in the air.
He led the state with 17 interceptions as a cornerback and set a National Federation of State High School Associations record by returning eight picks for touchdowns.
And he’s the third player from last year’s Millwood team to go to a Division I program, along with Josh Turner (Texas) and Davion Pierson (TCU).
Swindall will join another former Falcon at Utah State. Cameron Sanders will be a third-year sophomore and is expected to challenge for a starting spot at cornerback next season after switching from wide receiver before last season.
Swindall also hopes to get on the field in the fall.
“They said I’ll have a chance to play my first year,” Swindall said. “I’ve just got to go down there and work. They throw the ball quite a bit, so it’s gonna be cool.”
– Scott Wright, firstname.lastname@example.org