Georgia Tech redshirt freshman cornerback Tre Swilling speaks with media following practice September 4, 2018. (Ken Sugiura/AJC)

After Georgia Tech debut, Tre Swilling’s workload about to jump

In his debut game, Georgia Tech cornerback Tre Swilling had a relatively light afternoon. With Alcorn State mostly throwing away from him, Swilling made one tackle in the Yellow Jackets’ 41-0 win Saturday.

“I didn’t really have too much work Saturday,” Swilling said. “I kind of got in on a couple of short throws, I think.”

That will likely change Saturday when the Yellow Jackets play their second game of the season, at South Florida in Tampa, Fla. USF quarterback Blake Barnett completed 24 of 34 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns against no interceptions in the Bulls’ season-opening win against Elon on Saturday. Four USF pass plays gained 20 yards or more. Barnett is a graduate transfer from Arizona State who began his college career at Alabama.

“We’re going to get tested this week,” coach Paul Johnson said, speaking of Barnett.

Wide receiver Randall St. Felix may be of particular concern to Swilling and the Tech secondary after he made his own career debut with seven catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. St. Felix is 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, a frame similar to the Tech receivers whom Swilling trains against in practice.

“Definitely will be a fun game Saturday, especially a team that throws the ball a lot,” Swilling said. “They had a couple receivers do pretty good last week, so it’ll be interesting.”

Swilling and B-back Jordan Mason, both redshirt freshmen, became the third and fourth freshmen or redshirt freshmen to start in their season opener in Tech’s past five seasons. Having redshirted, it was a long wait to play. Swilling described himself as a “fly on the wall” last year as he attended position meetings with veteran cornerbacks such as Lance and Lawrence Austin and Step Durham, trying to soak up knowledge.

“That kind of just added onto it,” Swilling said, “and it was pretty satisfying, but still hungry to keep working and get better every week.”

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