BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Tyrone Swoopes is serious -- dead serious -- when he steps out onto the field at Nike's world headquarters for The Opening this week. His eyes are focused, his drop backs smooth and his throwing motion effortless. Yet behind the rigid face that exudes confidence and shows he's locked into the moment is the one thing that drives the Whitewright (Texas) quarterback's game and a big reason why he's so successful on and off the field.
"I'm really just out there having fun," Swoopes said. "I really didn't know what to expect, I've never been to a camp like this before. I'm just out here having fun."
The five-star is one of six quarterbacks at The Opening and will captain his 7-on-7 team over two days in pursuit of the Nike 7ON Championship. Swoopes hasn't been to many national competitions so this event offers up the chance to measure himself against others and get to know his fellow nationally rated signal-callers.
"I really don't know any of the quarterbacks so I'm just getting to know all of them better," he said. "Me and Shane (Morris) from Michigan were playing (NCAA Football 13) for PS3 earlier and just chatting, getting to know each other a little bit. It's been nice getting to know him."
The score, by the way, was tied at the half 14-14 and Swoopes was -- gasp! -- playing as Oregon at one of the game stations setup in the players' lounge. The downtime at The Opening is one each camper relishes because it allows competitors to learn about each other and, for the uncommitted especially, here various pitches as to why they should commit to school X.
Swoopes is set in that last department and doesn't really entertain the thought of going somewhere other than Texas. Ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect in the class of 2013, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is ready to prove his ranking is no fluke by besting his fellow quarterbacks at The Opening in what could be a competition that runs two weeks long as everybody in Oregon will head to the Elite 11 next week in Southern California.
"Yeah, I think you could look at it that way," Swoopes said of an extended battle. "We're all here and we're all going to be at the Elite 11 so I think it kinda is and I think that's a good thing."
Compared by most to Vince Young thanks largely to his athleticism that is very much a part of his game at the high school level, Swoopes is still developing as a passer. He was in the top half of the quarterback group during the two hour training camp portion of day one and showed off a live arm that get the ball to the receiver quickly. As much as he can spin it however, the soft-spoken field general is always looking to work on his game.
"I think I've improved a lot just working on my mechanics," he said. "I'm not saying I'm perfect or anything so I'm still working and trying to get better and I think I'm definitely better than I was last year."
One of five commitments for the Longhorns at The Opening this week, Swoopes is the highest ranked and draws the most attention at the quarterback spot. As one of the ringleaders for the class, he's soaking in the experience to hang out with his fellow Austin-bound recruits and has high hopes on what the group as a whole can accomplish once they get to campus.
"I think we're really close," Swoopes said. "I think we really got to know each other throughout the whole recruiting process and we got better. I just think that we can go all the way and eventually win a national championship at Texas."
Sealy (Texas) athlete Ricky Seals-Jones recently decommitted from the class and is exploring his options but was catching passes from Swoopes on Friday at times. The two friends understand each other well and while the quarterback no doubt would love the No. 6 recruit in the country to rejoin the Texas class, he's steering clear of influencing anybody.
"I don't really talk to him about that because that's his decision," Swoopes said of Seals-Jones. "I don't want to make him do something he doesn't want to do. I'll just let him be about that."
And in the mean time, Swoopes will be refining his craft and tossing touchdown passes the rest of the weekend at The Opening.