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Monday, May 20, 2013
ESPN 150 DE puts decision on hold

By Radi Nabulsi

SUWANEE, Ga. -- Three weeks ago, ESPN 150 defensive end Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) was on the verge of committing to either Alabama or Georgia. Speculation and predictions lit up the message boards of both schools as well as social media.

“I am going to decide in the next two to three weeks,” Sawyer said on April 29, “I am not sure which one I am going to pick, but it is down to Alabama and Georgia.”

That self-imposed timetable has apparently been shelved, and now Sawyer looks to have a decision by “the end of summer.” The nation’s no. 7 defensive end postponed the decision after consulting with his head coach Bob Sphire.

“My coach thinks I am trying to rush it because I can’t practice in spring, and he thinks I am worried everyone is going to forget about me,” Sawyer said. “So we had a talk and he wants me to chill out a little bit.”

Despite being the No. 42 player in the nation, Sawyer felt that he needed to secure his spot. Sphire saw that Sawyer was going to commit for the wrong reasons.

“I felt like he was right,” Sawyer said. “I was trying to rush because I saw everyone else around me committing and I was like, ‘I need to go ahead and commit.’ But he told me to take it easy.”

Seeing good friend Bryson Allen-Williams commit to South Carolina created a little peer-pressure for Sawyer, who admits the process is taking its toll on him.

Dante Sawyer
Defensive end Dante Sawyer is rated the No. 42 player in the ESPN 150.
“That was a little thought of mine,” Sawyer said. “I am a little burnt out but I have been chilling out lately, just getting my grades up and whatnot.”

The 6-foot-3, 250-pound rising senior estimated that North Gwinnett hosted five different college coaches a day last week. Many were there to see Sawyer or his teammates Mitch Hyatt, Nate Brown, C.J. Leggett, Anree Saint-Amour and others. One coach that really caught Sawyer’s attention was Deke Adams of South Carolina.

“Coach Deke is pressuring me real hard,” Sawyer said. “He said, ‘I got two ends coming but I have liked you ever since I was at North Carolina, and I want you.’ He said it like that, ‘I want you.’ I really like him. He is a real cool guy."

Sawyer said he didn’t know if South Carolina could reach the top of his list but that Adams’ message, while not original, stands out for its intensity.

“The way he was saying it, that was a different, ‘I want you,’ ” Sawyer said. “And this is not his recruiting area either, so just the fact that he took the time to come down here and tell me that is big.”

Sawyer still has Alabama and Georgia atop his list, but two other schools are making up ground.

“Auburn and Tennessee are coming in the mix,” Sawyer said. “I don’t know as much about Tennessee, but Auburn was here yesterday. I was supposed to call them last night but I got swamped with my schoolwork so I didn’t -- but I will. Coach Cheese [Charlie Harbison] has been talking to my defensive line coach a lot, telling him how much they like me and they need to get me on campus. So we will see. I know coach [Rodney] Garner and he came down, too.”

The Volunteers are an attractive option as well. Sawyer has spoken highly of Tennessee multiple times.

“I just haven’t gotten a chance to go up there, but I like the recruiting class they have,” Sawyer said. “Those are some big-time players. Coach [Butch] Jones called me one day and left me a voicemail message. I’ll call him back.”

With other schools entering the mix, neither the staffs at Georgia nor Alabama has tried to hard-sell Sawyer on committing.

“No one has pressured me,” Sawyer said. “They all told me to take my time and that was about it.”