Given his lack of experience in organized football it was unlikely that former Miami power forward Erik Swoope was going to hear his name called during this weekend’s NFL Draft. But his athleticism and size resulted in some NFL teams taking a look, with Swoope working out for the Denver Broncos last month.
Late Saturday night Swoope tweeted that he’ll have the opportunity to earn a spot in the NFL, with the Indianapolis Colts offering him a spot as a free agent.
As a senior Swoope averaged 5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game for the Hurricanes, shooting 51.4% from the field. But Swoope finished the season well, reaching double figures in six of Miami’s final seven games. Swoope’s best offensive performance during that stretch came in an 85-70 win at NC State, as he scored 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field.
Swoope is the only college basketball player that could be afforded the possibility of joining a team as a free agent. Last week it was reported that former Kansas power forward Tarik Black was receiving some interest from NFL teams, with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers even putting him in touch with a team scout.
Will that lead to Black putting on the shoulder pads at some point? Who knows, but given Swoope’s path to a free agent deal anything is possible.
Three players with Division I college basketball experience were drafted this weekend: tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (Washington; Tampa Bay Buccaneers), wide receiver Bruce Ellington (South Carolina; San Francisco 49ers) and cornerback Demetri Goodson (Gonzaga, played football at Baylor; Green Bay Packers).
After catching just one pass in his first two seasons as a professional football player, Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas turned into an important weapon for Peyton Manning in 2013. Thomas, who played college basketball (and football) at Portland State, caught 65 passes for 788 yards and 12 touchdowns on a team that reached the Super Bowl.
What does Thomas’ success have to do with college basketball, especially when considering the fact that he’s been out of college for three years? According to a tweet from Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald, the Broncos are taking a look at another player whose college playing experience came on the basketball court as opposed to the gridiron.
That player is former Miami forward Erik Swoope, who last month completed his four-year playing career at the ACC school. The Broncos worked out Swoope on the Miami campus Thursday according to Navarro.
Swoope was listed as being 6-foot-6, 220 pounds on Miami’s roster this season. With the Hurricanes lacking depth due to the graduation of five seniors and the early departure of Shane Larkin after reaching the Sweet 16 in 2013, Swoope played 18.4 minutes per game in 2013-14 and averaged 5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds.
If Swoope were to continue on the “hoops to football” path and enjoy success he wouldn’t be the first Hurricane to do so. Jimmy Graham made the transition but it should be noted that like Thomas, Graham played a season in college after playing four years of college basketball at Miami.
The second game of the day in Greensboro wasn’t one that would have an impact on the NCAA tournament bubble, with both ten-seed Miami and 15-seed Virginia Tech needing to win the ACC tournament if they’re go be a part of the 68-team field. On the line was a spot in the second round, with the winner playing seven-seed N.C. State Thursday night.
Miami won 57-53, with Rion Brown scoring 15 points and Erik Swoope adding 14 to go along with eight rebounds. Swoope, a senior forward, also threw down two impressive dunks in the first half. One of those finishes is the one-handed finish that can be seen above (you can watch the other here), with Virginia Tech’s Trevor Thompson giving up the inside lane to the basket in his attempt to rotate to Swoope.
And be sure to pay close attention to the end of the Virginia Tech bench (in the background) at the seven-second mark.