Written By T.J. Inman (@TJHoosierHuddle)
Time continues to pass and the days continue to melt away as we get closer and closer to the 2015 college football season. Our Hoosier Huddle Countdown is doubling up once again as we take a look at a pair of #25s. On defense, the number is worn by Mario Swann. On offense, running back Tommy Mister dons the number. First up, let’s examine redshirt sophomore and Indiana native Mario Swann.
- Height: 6’1”
- Weight: 200 pounds
- Hometown: Greenwood, IN./Center Grove High School and Eastern Michigan University
- Year/Position: Redshirt SO./DB
Center Grove High School is a well-known football power that plays within one of the better athletic conferences (the MIC) in the Midwest. Schools like Carmel High School, Warren Central High School and Ben Davis High School routinely produce Division 1 players. So leading Center Grove to a conference title, as Mario Swann did, and being named to the all-conference team, as Mario Swann was, are accomplishments that shouldn’t be overlooked or understated. The defensive backs 81 tackles and two forced fumbles landed him on the All-State team and helped him earn a scholarship to MAC school Eastern Michigan University.
Swann played in eight games as a true freshman but the Eagles program was struggling and with three games remaining in the 2013 season, head coach Ron English was fired. Mario Swann quickly decided that his role wasn’t going to be the same and that he wanted a new home. He transferred back to his home state and walked-on to the IU football program. “I had always kept in touch with Chase Dutra. We’re like brothers, and right now he’s really mentoring me.” Swann told the Daily Journal in April.
As a transfer, Swann was forced to sit out the 2014 season. He was named scout team player of the week for the Ohio State game and saw the field for the first time during the Spring Game, recording three tackles. Swann feels like he has improved and he is looking forward to proving himself in 2015. “I’m definitely better than when I first got here,” Swann said. “It’s the coaching. I feel I’ve learned from my mistakes.”
Swann is still a walk-on but recent defections from the secondary give the former EMU Eagle some hope for playing time. I think he’s behind a handful of defensive backs but seeing the field in nickel or dime situations and on special teams is certainly not out of the question.
- Height: 6’0”
- Weight: 208 pounds
- Hometown: Chicago, Illinois/St. Rita High School
- Year/Position: Redshirt Freshman/RB
The battle for the third running back position has been well-documented on this site. Previous countdown days have profiled the other candidates (Alex Rodriguez and Ricky Brookins) and various preseason articles and podcasts have discussed it. Most seem to believe that either Rodriguez or Brookins are the favorites to win the job after strong spring camps. The mostly forgotten man in this battle is the player that has drawn comparisons to one of IU’s best players in history. Tommy Mister is a redshirt freshman from Chicago, Illinois, the same area of the Midwest that produced his former teammate and current Atlanta Falcon, Tevin Coleman. Mister excelled as a quarterback at St. Rita High School, rushing for 1,767 yards and throwing for 1,408 yards as a senior. Mister earned all-state honors in both 2012 and 2013 and was rated as the number 21 prospect in Illinois before choosing IU.
Mister was expected to compete for playing time in his freshman season but a leg injury during preseason camp ended his season before it began and he redshirted the 2014 campaign. The comparisons are to Tevin Coleman are understandable. Mister and Coleman have similar builds, both are from Illinois and have similar running styles. However, we’ve yet to see Mister exhibit the incredible combination of explosive power and breakaway speed that we saw from Coleman. That’s not a knock on Mister, very few people have the ability that Coleman does. Plus, we’ve yet to see any healthy periods of time from the redshirt freshman tailback. The best case scenario this season for Tommy Mister would be for him to stay healthy and show off the big-play ability that had us excited about him before last season. If he can do that, I think it’s likely he can get a handful of carries every game and establish himself as a viable option at tailback in 2016.
The Hoosier Huddle countdown rolls along into the final fourth of our 100 day journey. Come back daily to read all of our preseason coverage. We’ll continue to provide you with game previews, throwback recaps, recruiting coverage and our Top 5 opposition pieces.