When quarterback Josh Swogger lands with an NFL team this year, he will have done it by both creating and taking advantage of his opportunities.
The starting quarterback and team captain for Washington State during his sophomore year, Swogger gained notoriety during his first five games by throwing for over 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns. And unbeknownst to him, he played two of those games on a broken foot.
The injury required surgery, bringing an abrupt halt to a very fast start by the 6-foot-5, 237-pound quarterback. And while trying to bounce back from the surgery for his junior year, the Cougars decided to go with Alex Brink as their starter. So Swogger was left to wonder what could have been as he hardly got to see any action that year.
”I sat down at the end of the year and made the decision that I was going to leave,” he said. “I looked at a bunch of schools and decided that Montana was the best school for me. Bobby Hauck and his staffs, they do a great job over there they kind of set the standard for I-AA football.”
Swogger took full advantage of his opportunity, lighting up the scoreboard as a senior and team captain. He threw for over 2600 yards and tossed 17 touchdowns, leading Montana to a 12-1 record before they lost in the semi-finals of the playoffs.
The strong-armed quarterback realized that switching schools was a bit of a setback from how he had envisioned his collegiate career, but it was the best way to ensure that pro scouts would get a chance to see his mechanics, his throwing ability and his leadership on the field. And in the process, he gained another benefit out it.
”It was actually a good learning experience for me,” he said. “I went through a couple of different offenses. My first head coach at Washington State, Mike Price, had a different offense than what they put in after they hired a new staff. And then when I went to Montana we kind of ran the run-and-shoot. I was able to show that I pick things up pretty fast.”
|Josh Swogger while playing for Washington St. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)|
And without switching schools, Swogger would have missed out on another great experience; the real sense of family that the coaches and players had developed at Montana.
”I could tell during my visit there and by talking with some of the players they really got along, and it seemed like they were really big on family,” he said. “That’s really important to me; having integrity and being able to look at someone in the eyes and know that you can depend on them and kind of lean on their word. So that was really big for me.
I’ve been married for over two years now, and my wife and I are real close with our families. So that sense of family meant a lot to me.”
Swogger’s determination to get the chance to display his skills, even though it meant relocating, paid off for him. Over the course of his senior year, scouts from all 32 pro teams visited Montana. And then he was invited to the Combine, providing him with an even bigger stage to showcase his talent.
As one of three “throwing quarterbacks, Swogger gained the advantage of doing a complete Combine workout with the quarterbacks, but then also got to stay all week to throw to the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends during their drills.
Prior to heading to Indianapolis, he said, “I look at as a blessing because they haven’t seen a lot of me and they’re going to be able to see me throw all week,” he said. “I think I can be a sleeper and hopefully I catch the eyes of some teams when I go there and turn some heads.”
He certainly achieved that goal based on the remarks of Scout.com NFL expert and former pro scout Tom Marino who watched Swogger’s workout in Indianapolis. Although he thought that Swogger had some accuracy problems at times with his deep passes, his strong arm made a real impression with Marino who called him a “nice surprise.”
Undoubtedly, Swogger also surprised some NFL teams with his Combine work, because a good turnout is now expected at his Pro Day on March 21st.
So keep your eye on Josh Swogger between now and training camp. The team that picks him up is going to get a quarterback of good character with a big arm and a tremendous amount of upside.
Scout.com subscribers can listen to additional audio highlights from Ed Thompson's interview with Josh Swogger in this exclusive audio feature. Listen in as Josh talks about what he liked most about the offense he ran in Montana, the personal attributes and skills he feels will help him at the next level and more! Listen to Audio
|A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews have been published across the Scout.com network and syndicated through FoxSports.com's NFL team pages.