There are many lessons and discoveries in a debut season. Haslet Eaton’s football program learned quite a bit from 2016.
It knows it has a gifted running back in rising junior Titus Swen, for one thing. Swen delivered a season that offered a glimpse of what could be to come. He accounted for nearly 1,700 offensive yards (1,244 rushing, 446 receiving) and 200 more in the return game as the Eagles (3-7) just missed the playoffs.
The encore for this fall could go anywhere.
“ took a lot of me learning [from] mistakes and making adjustments and how I play the game,” Swen said. “It’s also the way to approach it. You have to play all four quarters. You can’t take any breaks.”
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The one thing about him is when the lights come on, he’s ready to go. With his competitive nature, either you have it or you don’t. He’s hard-nosed. He wants to win.
Eaton head football coach Ellis Miller on Titus Swen
Swen (5-11, 195) has been a Division I prospect ever since he stepped onto the Eaton campus. He’s already secured offers from Kansas, SMU and Arizona. He camped at Baylor earlier this month and seems to have built a good rapport with that staff. Time will tell if the Bears extend.
Swen and his teammates will be participating in the state 7-on-7 tournament Friday and Saturday at the Veterans Park and Athletic Complex College Station. Eaton is in the big school Division I bracket and shares a pool with Katy Cinco Ranch, Georgetown and Lufkin. The top two teams advance to the championship bracket. The other two move to the consolation bracket.
For now, Swen is learning to embrace his role as one of the stars. His athleticism is such that Eaton coaches used on him defense last year and plan to continue that this fall. There is no set role.
Since he is a running back, he has the explosive first step to hit holes. New head coach Ellis Miller can use him on spot duty at defensive end. Swen’s athleticism allows him to play at either linebacker or defensive back. Like 2016, it’s going to be a game-by-game decision on how he’s used. The current thinking is somewhere between three to 10 plays. At times, he pleaded with Eaton coaches to play him on defense.
Miller has seen an evolution in Swen. While he’s arguably the most talented player on the roster, a responsibility comes with that. The recent offseason showed where Swen has changed course.
“Over the last two months, he has finally learned how to work hard,” Miller said. “And when you combine that with his natural ability, he’s going to be something special.”
Given his size and 4.5 speed, Swen is considered a north-south runner. He will deliver the blow rather than absorbing it. If the Eagles are able to shore up their offensive and defensive lines, they should be a postseason contender in District 6-5A.
“I just spent a lot of time on my speed and agility,” Swen said. “The big thing is that I want to do a better job finishing at the goal line.”
The game to watch will be on Oct. 20 at defending 5A Division II state champion Aledo. Swen will be on the opposite sideline of Aledo sophomore Jase McClellan, who is built the same way, runs the same way and is another coveted Division I recruit.
“The one thing about him is when the lights come on, he’s ready to go,” Miller said. “With his competitive nature, either you have it or you don’t. He’s hard-nosed. He wants to win.”