Pretend for a moment that you're Ohio State baseball coach Bob Todd. You hear about a 6-foot-2-inch, 225-pound left-handed pitcher with a 93-mph heater and six years of training from a former New York Yankees scouting director. Salivating yet? Too bad this athlete's college plans center around knocking opposing players' heads off.
Although seemingly capable of a career on the diamond, Andrew Sweat's greatest passion derives from the thrill of victory on the gridiron. Sweat, a standout from Trinity High School in Washington, Pa, has verbally committed to OSU football for 2008.
"While baseball may be my best sport, I really want to play football at the next level," said Sweat, a 4-star linebacker recruit from rivals.com. "Many schools have spoken to me and I would consider (playing baseball) down the road, but for now my priority is the OSU football team."
The three-sport star, who also played shooting guard on the Hillers basketball team prior to this season, was named the Washington County Athlete of the Year after totaling 155 tackles and three interceptions this past season.
"He's a killer," said Ed Dalton, Trinity football coach and director of athletics. "He is a player that is not just happy tackling the ball; he wants to wreak havoc on the ball."
"He's a blue collar kind of player that is not going to wow you with some sort of panache or style points," said Kevin Noon, managing editor for ohiostate.rivals.com. "He just consistently makes plays and has a great head for the game."
Although Sweat thrills fans on the football field with his 4.55 speed out of the middle linebacker position, his talents extend to the classroom. Sweat said he recognizes the importance of balancing athletics and his studies.
"My family and Coach Dalton have always pushed me and worked hard to instill discipline on the field and in the classroom," said Sweat, who earned a 4.3 cumulative grade point average during high school. "While all the straightforward and genuine people in Columbus (ultimately) drove me to attend OSU, education played a significant role as well."
Sweat's bloodlines further typify his stellar profile. As the son of a three-year starter on the Syracuse football team and a draftee to the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, Sweat said he understands the work necessary to succeed at the next level. However, unlike many sons of star athletes, Sweat felt no added pressure to follow in his fathers footsteps.
"Although some dads really put pressure on (their) sons, my father has typically been laid back and allowed me to do what I want to do," Sweat said. "I feel I am a product of his support."
In an effort to jump-start his learning curve, Sweat intends to begin classes and attend spring practices in March. With signing day approaching, the biggest question surrounding the 18-year-old remains when and where he will inevitably suit up for the scarlet and gray.
"The thing about Andrew Sweat is he's so versatile that he can play any of the three line backing positions plus he could even play strong safety," Noon said. "I see there being about no opportunity for him to get onto the field this first year. He really just needs to be able to get into the program, learn under Coach Luke Fickell and be able to find where his role will be on this football team."
Regardless of his place in '08, when his buckeye career ends sometime early next decade, Dalton said he believes Sweat will don an NFL uniform like his father before him.
"Without putting an undue burden on him, if he's not playing on Sunday then I'll never coach a guy who can play on Sunday," Dalton said. "I think he's that talented."Brian Rosen can be reached at [email protected].