My favorite way of finding new talent is by accident, and while scouting two receivers at NAU last year, I kept noticing a small but quick, smart and tough corner from N. Colorado. So I made a few notes and kept waiting to see if he kept showing up on tape. It would be an understatement to say that he kept showing up; in fact merely, he impressed me continuously. The big questions about him, just as in high school are his size. He’s smaller than the NFL ideal. However, he has the skills and the will that still allows him to compete against bigger and faster athletes. Adding to the list of Draft Blue-light Specials I give you Isaiah Swopes.
William Carroll: I have had the pleasure of watching your career from your time at Northern Colorado. What would you say are the five most important and best lessons you’ve learned on your journey?
Isaiah Swopes: University of Northern Colorado. The five most significant and best things to me would always be to keep God. First, confidence in yourself should always be high, have fun every day, how to adapt to adversity, every day.
WC: The next question, you played for Ryan Ross at Ocean Springs [Mississippi] High School, what was that program like and what kind of coach was he?
IS: Coach Ross was a coach who truly cared for us and wanted the best for us. The program has always had a winning tradition. We won the district my senior year, and we were 11-2.
WC: Who were your major rivals in High School and College?
IS: Pascagoula High School and St. Martin High School. In college, our rival is Northern Arizona University.
WC: Your home area is loaded with talent, who are some of the best players you played with or against while you were in college, high school or growing up?
IS: Jaylen Smith from Pascagoula played at Louisville. Matthew Eaton from Pascagoula played at Iowa State. Jonathan Nance who played at Gulfport plays at Missouri. Then in college Emmanuel Butler and Elijah Marks from NAU.
WC: What was your recruitment process like, who was interested and how did you choose your school?
IS: My recruitment process in high school was slow. I was all-state, all-region, all-coast, etc. but I ended up going D3. [I] Was a D3 All-American, Conerly Award Finalist and Cliff Harris Finalist. Then I went to juco after I left the D3 school — All-State at JuCo. Then I went to the University of Northern Colorado. (D3=Belhaven University, JUCO=Copiah-Lincoln Community College)
WC: What was the best game and the biggest play you made as a high school player?
IS: It’s a lot in high school but we were losing to Gulfport High School in the 4th quarter and whoever won would be the district champion, and I returned a kickoff with 5 minutes left in the game.
WC: What was your big “Welcome to College Football” Moment?
IS: When I fumbled the opening kickoff of my first ever collegiate game.
WC: What is your current height/weight and what are your testing numbers?
IS: 5’8 ¾” and 175lbs. 4.6 40, Vertical 31”, 9’’6” Broad, 6.98 3-Cone, 4.3 Short-shuttle. 14 Repetitions on Bench.
WC: How have the systems and staffs at your school impacted your development?
IS: I like the system more at my JUCO. It just felt more at home. I was able to play freely.
WC: Which coaches have had the greatest impact on you and why?
IS: My DB coach from high school Derrick Jenkins has had the biggest impact on me. He’s like an uncle to me. He takes care of me like I’m his own child and has always been hard on me. He taught a lot about the game. My DC at JuCo also had a big impact on me. He made everyone around him better.
WC: How hard was to adjust to the verbiage, system, and play-book and when did you feel 100% comfortable?
IS: It wasn’t hard to learn the playbook or system at UNC, but I’m an instinctive player, and I wasn’t allowed to use them to my full potential at UNC.
WC: Who have been your favorite teammates, and why?
IS: Mike Walker, Noel Reid, Sherand Boyd, Jerone Jackson, Khristian Lee, Tyree McNeil, Paul Wilson, Tank Terrell, and Marshawn Cameron. We were like one big family. [I] Can always depend on them to push me and help me grow on and off the field.
WC: Who have been your favorite opponents and why?
IS: I truly do not have a favorite opponent. I just love to compete.
WC: If you could put together a list of your favorite players to watch or emulate, who is on that list and why?
IS: Charles Woodson, Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, and Brent Grimes. I chose these five players because these are the players, I model my game after.
WC: What NFL teams are your favorites and why?
IS: My favorite NFL team is the Jacksonville Jaguars it’s been my team since I was six.
WC: Which NFL players do you think your game most closely resembles and why?
IS: Brent Grimes, Tyrann Mathieu, and Charles Woodson because of their size besides Charles Woodson, their ball skills, their mentality, and their will.
WC: When football is over what would you like to do with your education?
IS: I want to go to Physician Assistant School or Med School. Later on, in life, I would like to coach high school football.
WC: Finally, if you could go back in time to talk to 17-year-old you, what would you tell him?
IS: I would tell myself just always keep God first. Something I’ve always done and he has brought me so far in life.
WC: And what would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
IS: If I could do it over again, I would have gone to Ocean Springs High School my junior year instead of senior year.
WC: What [if any] is/are your nickname[s] and how did you get it/them?
IS: No one calls me Isaiah. Everyone calls me Swopes.