On Monday morning the Greenport/Southold/Mattituck football players put their noses to the grindstone and their shoulder pads to the blocking sled. One end of that sled was moving dramatically more than the other. That was the end on which the hulking figure of Jude Swann was working.
No surprise there.
Swann, measured at 6-3, 290 pounds at a Stony Brook University football camp in June, can move blocking sleds and players. That’s just one of the things the Greenport coaching staff likes about the senior lineman.
“He’s a big, strong kid,” coach Jack Martilotta said. “He really put in some hard work in the offseason getting in shape and it shows.”
As incredible as it sounds, Swann didn’t play football until last year when friends were finally able to convince him to come out for the team. He has come a long way since then.
“He’s a kid who 13 months ago had never thrown on a pair of shoulder pads, and now he’s got colleges looking at him,” said Martilotta.
Swann indicated he may have surprised even himself by how much he has taken to football. A standout basketball player for Greenport High School, he is quickly making a name for himself on the gridiron.
Last year Swann played defensive end and tight end. He made All-Division. This year he is expected to be used as a defensive end and nose tackle on defense and as an offensive tackle on offense.
Discussing Swann’s junior season, Martilotta said: “He was raw. He had never played football, so a lot of things he was just able to do just because physically he is who he is. As the year progressed, he kind of figured out what was going on around him and he really became a force.”
“This year he’s a lot more confident,” the coach continued. “We’re expecting big things.”
Said Swann: “I was kind of nervous before every game, and then once I got into the game, then I [realized] I could do anything I [wanted] on the field.”
Ahkee Anderson, a junior quarterback and defensive back, called Swann “a natural-born leader, so he leads by example, and everyone just wants to be like him.”
Then again, there aren’t many players Swann’s size in Suffolk County Division IV. What must smaller opponents think lining up against him?
“If I was 17 years old, I would not be excited about that,” Martilotta said. “We’re expecting him to draw a lot of double-teams, triple-teams, and make it easier for a kid, a linebacker like Mr. [Tyrus] Smiley there, to blitz and run around it. He’s more comfortable this year playing, and we think he’s probably going to cause some problems in the middle, I would think.”
Anderson said Swann is “a lot more passionate” about football this year.
Swann said he would like to play college football. “I kind of like football better than basketball,” he said.
Photo caption: Jude Swann and Greenport/Southold/Mattituck coach Jack Martilotta during a practice last week. (Credit: Bob Liepa)