Vandy was first to offer Ensworth star

Vanderbilt has boosted their national status under James Franklin attracting top talent from California, Illinois, and New jersey as evidenced in the Class of 2013. The turnaround, however, has given plenty of local prospects, such as Michael Sawyers of Ensworth High School, all the reasons they need to stay home for college. spoke to Sawyers about his recent offer and more.

"Vanderbilt was my very first offer back on January 31st," said Sawyers. "It was exciting to receive the offer. It's so close to me. I've been on the campus many times and have gotten to know the coaches real well since I first started talking to them as a sophomore. My recruiter is Coach Donovan. I'm a two-way player, but Vanderbilt likes me at defensive tackle. A big plus is I really like Coach Spencer, the D-line coach. He's a lot of fun to be around. I enjoy him and there's no doubt he could help my game at the next level.

"When I was offered Coach Donovan told me he loves my motor and my strength inside being able to help out in the running game. I have a quick first step that allows me to get under my man and get off him in a hurry with my power and agility."

At 6-foot-3, 285-pounds, Sawyers was a key component both offensively and defensively in Ensworth's run to a third straight TSSAA Division II-AA championship. Playing defensive tackle, he had 41 tackles with 11 tackles for loss, 8 sacks and a forced fumble. On offensive, he played tackle and was a vital part of the Tigers rushing attack that was the cornerstone of their championship rum. Sawyers earned a first team All-State designation at offensive lineman by the TSWA.

"It was a great year because we won state," he said, "but I kind of re-injured my ankle and played hurt throughout most of the season. In the off-season, I'm working on getting back to normal and playing the same way I did before the injury. I'd say I'm getting close to where I was at in being able to move and change directions like I used to."

It's hard to keep a player like Sawyers a secret and Vanderbilt will likely face steep competition in vying for Sawyers signature. He currently holds offers from Arizona State and Ole Miss in addition to Vanderbilt but is hearing from plenty others.

"I love Vanderbilt," Sawyers said, "it's just I've been there so many times now that I want to go out and see some other colleges. I'm going to an Ole Miss junior day on April 5th. I'd like to go to Arkansas and LSU this spring. I've also been talking to Duke, Georgia Tech, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Virginia about visiting. If I don't make it in the spring I'm going to try and make it to as many camps as I can over the summer."

Sawyers says he's eager to take his time and enjoy the recruiting process and see how many offers he'll accumulate over the coming months but that Vanderbilt has many of the attributes he's looking for in a college.

"Vanderbilt has a great education," he said. "Academics are the first thing I look at when I'm checking out a college even before football. The next thing is the bond I have with the coaches. Coach Franklin has turned things around at Vanderbilt and has a great coaching staff. I don't have any time frame on my decision. It could be by the summer or later in the season. I'm going to talk with my mom and set up my schedule for visits and go from there."

Sawyers played as a freshman for the Ensworth Tigers and moved into a starting role on both sides of the ball as a sophomore. He'll go into his senior year looking to be a part of four straight state championship teams. This spring, Sawyers says he's saying active by throwing shot put for the track & field team. Top Stories