Heading off to college is a nerve-wracking experience for many, but that hasn’t been the case so far for T’Vondre Sweat.
A little over one month after arriving in Austin to begin his college football career with the University of Texas Longhorns, the former Huntsville High School standout is feeling right at home.
“Austin feels like home,” Sweat said. “The team makes it feel like home, but also just the area. Austin is a wonderful place.”
Sweat, a versatile defensive lineman that took home District 20-5A Division II MVP honors last season as a senior, has been in Austin since June 1. He is already taking classes and working out with the team, and although every day is a challenge, he’s enjoying the opportunity to push his limits.
“It's not going to come easy, so everything I do I have to challenge myself — even in the classroom,” Sweat remarked.
Sweat’s former and current head coach are both excited to see how the next few years play out for him.
“We needed to get bigger on the defensive line, and T'Vondre certainly fills that criteria," Texas head coach Tom Herman said on National Signing Day last December. "He can still move enough to play on the edge and play defensive end. We think the sky is the limit for him.”
“It's exciting, especially when you've been in a situation like I've been in, where I've seen him go from an eighth grader to a 6-foot-5, 280-pound D-lineman,” Huntsville head coach Rodney Southern added. “It's exciting because, No. 1, you know they are going to be able to advance their education without paying for it. No. 2, I've told him — and I've only said it to two or three guys in my 32 years — he's talented enough that he can play on Sunday if these next four or five years of his life work out.”
As for his former team, Sweat is confident that the Hornets can build off their 2018 run to the state quarterfinals — and go even further this year.
“They should win state,” he said.
The next few weeks for Sweat will include more classes and more workouts, before finally strapping up his helmet in August, when the Longhorns hit the practice field for fall camp.
After that, it’ll be time to take the field at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium in front of nearly 100,000 fans — quite the change from Friday nights at Bowers Stadium.
“It's going to be exciting,” Sweat said. “Coming out of the tunnel is going to be crazy, because there are going to be so many people watching. ... It's going to be crazy seeing all those people come to watch us play.”