TAMPA – Affecting field position and being a sound football player is a big deal at any level. Jesuit sophomore punter and kickoff specialist Aidan Swanson has done just that in his first varsity season.
The 6’2″, 165-pounder has sent 36 of 47 kickoffs this season into the endzone for a touchback. Swanson is averaging 57.5 yards per kickoff and 46.0 yards per punt (7 attempts).
Serving as the long-distance field goal kicker behind senior Camden Bauman, Swanson has attempted one field goal this season, a 52-yarder that fell just short against Jefferson.
He practiced a lot with the varsity team as a freshman and took over kickoff duties from graduating senior Brendan Gonzalez. As for being the kicker of the future, he says he’d love to do everything and wants to prove he can be that guy once Bauman goes off to college.
As for the move up to varsity this season, Swanson is settling right in.
“It’s more for real. There’s a lot riding on the season, playoffs included,” Swanson told Prep Sports Scouting. “On JV, you just had about five games. It’s been a big jump for me.”
His big leg is noticeable whether he’s booting kickoffs, punts or field goals. He’s been awfully impressive on kickoffs through six games this season.
“Kickoffs are where you have to put all the effort into kicking,” Swanson said. “You have to put all your leg into it.”
Starting his football career at age 5, he has always been a kicker.
He says his dad saw him kicking a little Nerf ball in the backyard and that’s what gave him the urge to go try out being a kicker.
Swanson also stars on Jesuit track and field, he played basketball until last season and played baseball until the age of 10.
As his kicking coach Tom Feely says, he is “both humble and very coachable”. Swanson is athletic as they come and very down to earth on and off the field.
“Aidan started preparing for this journey as a kicker/punter with me when he was in the 1st grade,” Feely said. “Today, he is kicking and punting at a level that places him in the top 10 percent of high schoolers in the nation. He has the characteristics of some of the best I have ever coached, who became NFL greats.”
Tom’s son, Jay Feely came to visit Jesuit’s practice on Tuesday. Jay is a former NFL kicker who finished with a 82.6 field goal percentage in 14 seasons.
Swanson noticed Jay Feely on the field at the end of practice as he was going to get his ball.
“I saw Cam Bauman talking to him and I was like ‘who is that?”, he said. “As I was walking over, ‘I was like is that Jay Feely?’ It gave me chills, he’s a guy who has been through it all you know.”
Swanson also has trained for Brandon Kornblue over at Kornblue Kicking for the past year. Kornblue has him ranked No. 1 in class of 2019 in punting and No. 11 overall, No. 3 class of 2019 for kicking and No. 15 overall.
Fourth-year Jesuit head coach Matt Thompson has led the Tigers to a 29-10 record over the past three seasons, including district titles in all three. So far this season, Jesuit is a perfect 6-0 while recording four shutouts.
“He gave us a lot of good coaches to work with,” Swanson said. “He’s been very successful, coaching at Armwood and coaching for 20 plus years. He always makes sure that when we get on the practice field that we are focused football and nothing else.”
After going 13-1 a year ago and making a Class 5A state semifinal appearance, Swanson believes in his current group.
“We can definitely make a run for the state championship,” he said. “It all comes down to how much we really want it.”
Pointing out his biggest strengths, Swanson said that is his kickoffs and punts. He’s aiming to improve his accuracy on field goals.
Although he has no offers yet, Swanson received camp invites from North Carolina and Auburn this past summer as he visits the campuses of Clemson, USF and UF in that time.
Ever since he kicked a football, Swanson has had his eyes set on playing in college and making it to the NFL. If that doesn’t work out, he has backup plans.
“I’d look into possibly coaching or I’d probably fall back to my family insurance, Great Florida Insurance.”
Kicking is a big deal in football. To the normal fan that isn’t apparent, but when you see Aidan Swanson kick, all you see is confidence.
This kid loves the game and he loves proving his worth and improving with each and every kick. Big things are ahead for Swanson. I expect an offer to come awfully soon.
Favorite player to watch – Sebastian Janikowski, Jay Feely, Bradley Pinion, Dustin Hopkins, Caleb Sturgis, Eddie Pineiro
Playlist before games – Lil’ Wayne, Young Thug and G Eazy
Favorite movies – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Favorite TV shows – ESPN, College Football Live, SportsCenter
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I’m state ranked in the high jump and I jumped 6-foot as a freshman at one of our meets. I’ve done it since 6th grade.”
Nickname(s) from teammates or friends – “Boomstick”, “Swando”, “Swanny” and “Kicker”
Game film: Swanson’s Hudl tape
In case you missed it:
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.