“It was really cool. They wanted me to see the area and the environment of a real USF college player,” Sawtelle remembers. “Auggie Sanchez hosted me and he’s a hell of a linebacker. He’s a great guy, awesome player, good at school and took me under his wing for the two nights I was there. I learned a lot from [Sanchez] and there’s a lot of inside stuff I wouldn’t have learned without being with a guy like that so I was really happy and fortunate to get a guy like him to host me.”
The coaching staff had a weekend full of fun for the recruits who went on their official visits to USF. They started Friday with seeing Raymond James stadium followed by a dinner cruise where recruits met with their hosts for the weekend. On Saturday, they went to a USF basketball game followed by Busch Gardens and laser tag.
“We split into two teams, the recruits versus the coaches, and the coaches ended up winning the game,” Sawtelle said. “I guess they had a better strategy. They won, but that was really fun. We had a lot of team bonding time and it’s important for us recruits to get to know each other before we start playing with each other so we can play as a team as one.”
What Sawtelle really liked about the weekend was getting to talk to the coaches, especially Coach Taggart.
“Coach Woodie, the linebacker coach, is a funny guy. I like him a lot.” Sawtelle said. “I’m anxious to see what I can learn from him and Coach Taggart. Coach T, he’s a really good guy. He’s just a nice homey guy, not up in the clouds like a lot of coaches. He understands he’s in a position to help out, and he’s helping you become possible fathers in life. He’s not just teaching you about football. The whole coaching staff is just a bunch of great people.”
There was an exact moment when Sawtelle knew USF was the right choice and much of that had to do with the environment Coach Taggart and his staff are providing.
“Coach T is really trying to get everyone to work harder,” said Sawtelle.“He just brought in a couple of new coaches that helped build up that team at Western Kentucky from scratch to champions, and that’s what he’s trying to do here. When I heard that, and they wanted me, I knew I wanted to be a part of this new team and these new super stars coming up in Florida. This new big time team like Florida State and Miami and Florida and so was like ‘Yeah, I’m jumping on that bus.’”
Sawtelle knows the bonds he will make in college will be ones he carries for life. His weekend recruiting trip to USF made him even more excited to start his journey as a Bull.
“I’m really looking forward to making new friends,” says Sawtelle. “I’ve been blessed to have a lot of good close brothers, players that I call brothers on the football team that I’ll keep in touch with for the rest of my life, and I hope to get that at USF. Those are good guys coming in. This time will also be about getting an education to provide for my family and me in the future. I’m really looking forward to going to USF.”