"Florida and Ohio State are my top two. They are pretty much neck and neck right now," said Sweat, who had 160 tackles, four interceptions and 10 sacks his junior season. "USC has just starting contacting me about two weeks ago. They seem really interested, but haven't offered yet. I just sent them some more film, so I want to see what happens with that….to see if they offer. If the visit there went well, they would definitely be up there with Florida and Ohio State, right at the top. I think Coach (Pete) Carroll is an amazing coach and they have a good chance of winning it all next year.
"I don't want to wait long before I commit though. I'll probably do it by June or July," he said. "I want to focus on my senior season. Plus, I don't think it would be fair for the other guys on my team for me to be put on this pedestal by all these coaches, when we're trying to win a championship. We're all out on that field for the same reason and the last thing everyone needs is a bunch of coaches coming around distracting everyone from our goal. I want to spend my senior year worrying about recruiting, I want to spend it with my teammates and my friends."
Sweat admits that Ohio State held the top stop until his recent visit to the Swamp on March 24. "I went down to for an unofficial last weekend….it was awesome! I met Michael Brewster (offensive lineman) up there and we had a blast. We got to watch practice and hang out with the team. I got to meet with Coach (Urban) Meyer for about an hour and was totally blown away. Wow! What a great guy. We toured around the facilities in a golf cart. I think it's probably the most beautiful campus I've seen…and I've seen a lot of campuses. But the stadium blew me away—oh my God!
"I got the offer from Florida about a month ago," he said. "I didn't know how highly-regarded the academics are there. That's really important to me. Everyone was really welcoming and relaxed. It was like we were just hanging out a lot of the time. It wasn't just football all the time. Everyone made me feel really comfortable…like I was right at home. There is such a team bond there…that's a big deal. They have barbeques every week where everyone brings their girlfriends and friends and just hangs out. It was so much fun."
Sweat said a big positive is the Gators depth, or better yet, lack of depth. "I know I'd have an opportunity to compete early at Florida since they lost three linebackers this year. That's really tempting. Just to be a part of the national championship team is one thing, but to have the opportunity to see the field next year…can you ask for anything more?"
"The only downfall with Florida is the distance," Sweat conceded. "I want to be somewhere my family would be able to see me play and Florida is a little far. But, my parents have a condo in Florida, so it's not a huge deal for me. In the end, it's going to come down to where I feel the most comfortable, no matter how far or close."
"Ohio State is a lot closer to home…about two hours away," Sweat said. "I'm more familiar with the Buckeyes. I've been there three times now. My old teammate (tight end) Andrew Miller is there and he loves it. And Coach (Jim) Tressel is the man! Urban Meyer and he are on about the same level for me.
"I'm really comfortable with the proximity of Ohio State to home. I'm probably the most comfortable with their program over any others. Coach Tressel and his staff have been there since the beginning. They came in to talk with me before anyone else. They were my third offer (early January). I'm really torn between Ohio State and Florida right now."
Sweat says the Fighting Irish are his next choice. "Notre Dame is number three. I went there for an unofficial about a month ago. I was surprised at how small South Bend is. There's not much to do there. I loved the campus. As far as academics, it's the best. But I like a lot of diversity and there really wasn't a lot of that there. There's the athlete and the brains and I didn't see much interaction between the two. College is about experiencing different things and meeting new people you wouldn't normally meet and I just didn't get that from Notre Dame.
"All the coaches were really cool and Coach (Charlie) Weis is a great guy. It was amazing to meet him, but I didn't really learn much about him when I was there. And their defense is in a little bit of a transition right now. It's not that great.
"Michigan is number four," he said. "Ann Arbor is great, a real college town. I went there for junior day with my dad in February. I really like Coach (Lloyd) Carr a lot. He's a great guy. Michigan has a lot to offer. They have an awesome academic center. All the coaches are really down-to-earth. The only thing is I didn't get a chance to talk to their defensive coordinator. They came to my school the day after Signing Day (February 7) and offered me the day after that. The big thing for me with Michigan is the coaching stability. It's rumored that Coach Carr might leave and that's a big deal for me. Stability is a huge deal for me."
Penn State and Alabama round out his top six. "Penn State is my home state school. I haven't been there since they played Michigan last season, but I'm going there this Friday (April 30) to meet with the Coach (Joe) Paterno and Coach (Tom) Bradley. Coach Bradley and I have a close relationship and I really respect him and what he's done with the Penn State defense. I love Penn State because they are a pipeline for linebackers…like Tim Shaw. It's ‘Linebacker U'.
"Stability is my biggest concern with Penn State too," Sweat said. "Coach Paterno is a legend. He's incredible, but how much longer will he be there? That's something I have to think about.
"Alabama just offered me a couple of weeks ago," he added. "I don't know that much about the program, but just the fact that Coach (Nick) Saban is there sparks my interest. I want to take a trip down there just to check things out."
Sweat says he's enjoying his recruiting experience. "I love the process. I've been fortunate to have such a great support staff with my family and my coach (Ed Dalton). He's a big influence in my life…like my second dad to me. Everyone has been there to give me advice and help me not to become overwhelmed with everything.
"Right now, I am going to the Ohio State spring game. My mom hasn't been able to see all the schools and I want to make sure she does before I make any decisions. She's going to go to Florida also."
Sweat says versatility is his biggest strength. "I can pretty much play anywhere, wherever I'm needed. My freshman year I started at safety. I played fullback, running back and tight end and I'm going to be playing quarterback this year. I know I can do whatever coaches need me to. I want to work on furthering my understanding of the game for the next level. It's important to learn to mature mentally as well as physically. Also, I'd like to run a consistent 4.4 forty…speed and agility are things I will always try to be better at." He benches 380 pounds and squats 500.
Sweat reports a 4.3 GPA and is awaiting his March SAT results.