PURCELL — You can make statistics say just about anything, but it's hard to disguise the meaning of these numbers: Purcell is 18-3 the last three seasons when Cole Swayze starts the game at quarterback, 8-6 when he doesn't.
“I think that means we need him a little bit,” Purcell football coach Mike Wilson said with a laugh. “I don't know that I can express how important it is for us to have him on the field.”
It hasn't always been easy to keep him on the field, thanks to two awful injuries. Swayze broke his femur as a freshman and tore his ACL last year.
And he knows he needs to have a healthy senior year to avoid that ugly “injury prone” label.
“He needs to have a full year to show colleges that he's not that guy,” Wilson said. “He's never been fragile. He's just had a couple of nasty injuries.”
Colleges always ask about the knee. Swayze received his medical release in May, and shortly after was clocked at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a Texas A&M camp.
“A lot of schools are waiting to see how I'll turn out this season,” said Swayze, No. 23 on The Oklahoman's Super 30. “They're just waiting to see how things play out, and I can understand that. So that's another thing I have to work for. Hopefully I'll have a lot of people watching me this year.”
Though he's spending a lot of time going to college camps this summer, he still doesn't feel like his knee is back to full strength.
“Maybe 97 percent,” he said. “I'm happy, but I'm not where I want to be. Hopefully I'll get a little faster.”
Of course, speed is crucial to Swayze's college future. It's a big reason why Oklahoma State extended a scholarship offer after his sophomore season.
He's 6-foot-1 and still growing, weighing in at 205 pounds now. Though his value to the Dragons is as a quarterback, he'll likely be a receiver or safety in college — possibly with the potential to grow into a linebacker.
People around him have wondered why he didn't jump on the OSU offer. His father was a walk-on with the Cowboys, and the early offer meant a lot to Swayze.
But he's not the type to rush, especially where his future is involved.
“I've even had people tell me they thought I was already committed to Oklahoma State,” he said. “But no, I'm waiting. I'll know when the time is right.”
Aside from Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Missouri and several other programs showing interest in him as a football player, Swayze is also being recruited in track, with interest from Harvard.
“He's an insightful kid who wants to find what he wants to do with his life,” Wilson said. “When he says yes to a school, he wants it to be the right thing. Cole is going to make a good decision for Cole.
“He's a great kid first, and a great athlete second. I hope he has a great athletic career ahead of him, but he's gonna make it, regardless of what he does.”
The Oklahoman's Super 30 No. 23: Cole Swayze School: Purcell Height: 6-1 Weight: 205 Position: Quarterback/Athlete Offers: Oklahoma State offered a scholarship after his sophomore season, and Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Missouri are showing strong interest, along with a few others.