Card: Sage 2017
Acquired: 2017, Hobby Box Breaker
A rock solid athlete, Tyrone Swoopes played for the Texas Longhorns. During his time at UT, he played quarterback and wide receiver. At the scouting combine, scouts liked his frame and skill set so much they thought that Swoopes was better suited to be a tight end. That begs the question. Were things that bad at the University of Texas at quarterback during the Charlie Strong era at one point, that their best quarterback was a tight end? Tyrone played mostly mop up duty in 2013. His best season at quarterback came in 2014 when he compiled 224/384 with 2409 yards passing and 13 TDs.
In 2015, Strong opted to take the offense in a two-headed quarterback approach with Jerrod Heard primarily manning the starting position, while Swoopes came in as part of the 18 Wheeler package. The 18 Wheeler was a mismatch package the Longhorns used placing typically 7-8 men on the line, while the QB sat in shotgun with a RB while a FB moved in motion. More often than not, it was a run play. Primarily from this formation, Swoopes finished with 74 carries for 451 yards and 12 TDs rushing. He also threw for 537 yards and 4 TDs. With the arrival of QB Shane Buechele on the 40 acres and him stretching the yardsticks, the Longhorns didn’t really need to use the 18 Wheeler package as much. Swoopes was backup QB for the season, and rushed 54 times for 174 yards and 7 TDs.
Swoopes is fondly remembered at UT home games for inspiring the school to play “Whoomp There it is” after every TD that Tyrone scored. Longhorn Legend Rod Babers is credited with making the association and changing the song to “Swoopes There it is”. The rest is history.
Tyrone was not selected in the 2017 NFL draft. He elected to sign with the Seattle Seahawks as a tight end. It should be an interesting transition for the former quarterback as he did not catch a single pass in college. He made the practice squad for the Seahawks and was activated for their final game in 2017, but did not see any significant playing time.
Card: University of Texas Upper Deck 1969 National Champions (05/30)
Acquired: 2015, Spoodog Box Break
See Also: James Street
Arriving from Longview, Texas, James Street worked his way up from 7th string quarterback -to starter (two games into his Junior season), leading the Longhorns to a 20-0 record. He passed away in 2013 and is survived by his wife and 4 kids.
When we split up the boxes during the box break, I had not come across any gold cards or big hits- then I got this hit, which made up for it all. Overall this card looks pretty good. I like how Upper Deck got this nice action shot of James and the transparency on the 1969 near the bottom. I’ve seen some other UT cards that don’t work, but admittedly the gold on this one is pretty classy. James also has a very nice autograph that matches the classiness of the card.
Card: Playoff Contenders 2007, Score 2008, Panini UT 2015
Acquired: 2016, EBay. IP 2018, GiGi’s Cupcakes Soft Grand Opening
See Also: Michael Griffin
After Michael’s 9th season in the NFL, in which he recorded 101 tackles, an interception, and a sack, he was released in the off season by the Tennessee Titans. With gas still left in the tank, Michael signed with the Minnesota Vikings for 2016. He’d be injured during the preseason and released. Rehabbing from his injury Griffin signed with the Carolina Panthers. He played in 10 games contributing 30 tackles. In 2017, Michael joined Longhorn Legends TJ Ford and Cory Redding in finishing his bachelor’s degree with Griffin’s being in youth and community services.
I’ve always liked the Playoff Contenders series, strictly because it follows a slow evolution rule, much like the Corvette. Every year, small tweaks in the design and look of the card. The 2007 entry was a nice set, but I really disliked the tiny Titans pinstripe type. It says baseball, not football with that typeface. It’s also just dangling out there distracting from the image of the player. It does not pass the thumb test. Basically if you put your thumb to the image over the Titans pinstripe the image looks better without the pinstripe. Still it was a pretty solid card and the certified autograph works well on this canvas.
Fellow Longhorn and Titan alum, Brian Orapko and Griff had been teasing the grand opening of their cupcake restaurant GiGi’s in Bee Cave. After I heard they had a soft opening for their social media fans the previous day, I made the trip from East of Austin all the way to Bee Cave through the freezing rain. It paid off as both Brian and Orapko were there as well as Jamaal Charles (special random guest appearance)! Michael was kind enough to pen the Panini 2015 UT card as well as his Score 2008 card. The cupcakes were also really good too!