From the halls of Whitewright High School to The Forty Acres and then the Emerald City, Tyrone Swoopes makes an impact wherever his football journey takes him.
In each stop along the way — Grayson County, Austin and Seattle — his career has been shaped and influenced by coaches, mentors and teammates.
Even at just 25 years old, Swoopes feels he's in a position to provide that type of guidance to others. He’s already got an interesting resume, going from standout high school quarterback, to an up-and-down college career that including starting at Texas, to now playing in the NFL with the Seahawks as a tight end. There are times during the year you might find him on campus at a local high school, just dropping by to impart some knowledge.
“I’ve always wanted to make a difference and show people someone cares about them. I believe everyone deserves to feel like they have chance to do something great with their lives regardless of where they come from or what their circumstances are,” Swoopes wrote on social media. “I want to help kids, teens, and even adults understand that anything is possible.”
So he teamed with his fiancee, Taylor Gantt, to create the Swoopes Foundation.
“I hope that by executing our all of our ideas, like hosting Swoopes family game nights, that everyone can come together, feel part of a family and help spread love and positivity,” he wrote.
The duo announced the launch of the organization last week.
“Tyrone and I have dreamt of doing something larger than ourselves for a long time. We both value family and want to recreate the love, support and community that a family provides,” Gantt wrote. “Our goal for this foundation is to bring people together to have fun, to service communities, and most importantly to show love to everyone. We hope you love following along on our journey and hope to see you at one of our future events.”
While implementing this new venture, Swoopes is still looking to continue his professional career. In the middle of last month, the Seahawks did not offer him a contract, making him a free agent. This past season, Swoopes was on Seattle’s practice squad until being activated in late November. He played in five games, starting two, and caught one pass for five yards against San Francisco in the last game of the year.
Such is the life of a tight end.
Swoopes has bounced back-and-forth from the practice squad in the past three years after his time as a quarterback at Texas, where he played in 40 games and made 14 starts. Swoopes finished his career 13th on the Texas career passing yards list (3,038) and ended up sixth in school history for quarterbacks with 967 rushing yards and third in rushing touchdowns with 24. Off the field he was an academic All-Big 12 selection and two-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection.
Following six games of action as a freshman, Swoopes started almost all of his sophomore season. He was pressed into duty after the initial starter, David Ash, suffered a season-ending concussion in the opener and Swoopes ended up throwing for 2,409 yards and 13 touchdowns with 11 interceptions and ran for 262 yards and four touchdowns on 108 carries.
Swoopes then became the focal point of the “18-wheeler” package, a run-heavy look for him named because of his jersey number. He ran for 12 touchdowns on 74 carries, netting 451 yards, as a junior — including becoming the third Texas QB with four rushing touchdowns in a game, joining Vince Young twice (2004-05) and Bobby Layne in 1946 — and totaled 54 carries for 174 yards and seven TDs as a senior.
During that senior season, he came off the bench and ran 13 times for 53 yards and three touchdowns in a 50-47 victory in double overtime — scoring both of the TDs during the OT periods — against No. 10 Notre Dame in the season opener.
But he wasn’t going to continue at the position in the pros — he threw just nine passes as a senior and 102 over his final two years — and so he made the transition to tight end.
After he wasn’t selected in the 2017 Draft, Swoopes was signed by the Seahawks and spent most of that season on the practice squad before a late-season promotion to the active roster, playing in the final game of the season in a 26-24 loss against Arizona.
In 2018, he was on again on the practice squad and was added to the 53-man roster for Seattle’s game against the Raiders in London in mid-October. He had his first career catch — a 23-yarder that came up two yards short of his first career touchdown — in a 27-3 win.
He is the second player from Whitewright to play in the NFL, joining Will Cureton with the Cleveland Browns in 1975.
At Whitewright, he missed almost all of his freshman season due to injury but then started at quarterback the final three seasons. He was an honorable mention all-state selection, a district Most Valuable Player and had seasons like this — 181 carries for 2,336 yards and 29 touchdowns and 1,342 yards with 15 TDs passing as a junior — and games like this — 29 carries for 560 yards and seven touchdowns against Tom Bean in 2011, which is the fourth-best rushing yardage game in Texas high school history and was the second-best when it happened, in a career that totaled 5,341 yards and 73 TDs rushing to go with 3,850 yards and 41 touchdowns passing.
He played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as one of the top quarterback recruits in the country with offers from just about every major program.
That's a lot of life experience in a little more than a decade and plenty for Swoopes to draw on as his foundation proceeds in its early stages.