Former IU head coach Kevin Wilson couldn’t keep Greenwood, Ind. defensive end Jovan Swann in state in 2016.
But Tom Allen was able to convince Swann to come home for his final season of college football. And while IU would have loved to have seen Swann play out his entire career in Bloomington, the Hoosiers may be getting his best year.
Because while the 6-foot-2 and 270 pound Swann left his home state four years ago as a kid just out of high school, he returns as a graduate transfer — and a grown man.
“I’m really excited about Jovan Swann, and his addition to our football program,” head coach Tom Allen said. “Just such a huge addition to our team for a variety of reasons. A tremendous, high-character young man with strong leadership skills.”
Off the field Swann’s academic resume might leave some feeling inadequate. He graduated with a human biology degree from Stanford in April 2020, and he is admitted to the IU Kelley School of Business MBA Management program.
On the field, Indiana is getting a wealth of power five conference experience. For his career Swann owns 85 tackles (49 solo), 11.5 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hurries, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception and one blocked field goal in 39 games (19 starts) at defensive end.
Indiana’s defensive line was already a unit on the rise prior to Swann’s transfer announcement. Now the Hoosier defensive front could be a strength of the team, and in part that could be due to Swann’s voice.
“He’s a young man that will help our defense, just a really good football player,” Allen said. “He will make an impact right away. I am very excited about his leadership. We have a very young room with a lot of talent. He’ll have the courage and confidence to verbally lead that room. I think that’s something that he will bring to us.”
The only regular in the defensive line rotation that Indiana lost from the 2019 squad was Allen Stallings.
And while there are a lot of young players in that defensive line room, back are a host of upperclassmen including Jerome Johnson (redshirt senior), Michael Ziemba (senior), Demarcus Elliott (junior), James Head (junior), and Alfred Bryant (redshirt junior).
Allen likes to rotate his defenders and goes two and three deep at each position during games. Even with several veterans and and a younger group that includes regular contributors like Jonathan King and Sio Nofoagatoto’a, he isn’t worried about a good problem to have like an abundance of depth.
“You can never have enough good defensive linemen in this league,” Allen said.
While IU has been young and undersized up front on defense in recent years, that shouldn’t be the case in 2020. And in a room with veterans, Swann should fit right in.
“He’s a grown man, mature body type for sure being a senior, he’s coming in here ready to play,” Allen said.
The fact that Swann is an in-state guy from 30 minutes north up the road is just the icing on the cake.
“We really worked hard to recruit him once he made the decision to be a grad transfer, and getting an Indiana kid to come home and finish out here close to family is pretty awesome,” Allen said.
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