When building the ideal defensive end, you need a dash of athleticism, a few dollops of strength, plenty of motor, a healthy dose of toughness and a sprinkle of versatility.
Luckily for South Carolina, North Gwinnett's Dante Sawyer fits right into that mold and will display it for the Gamecocks after signing with the program.
Sawyer announced the news:
According to 247 Sports, Sawyer is a 4-star prospect at defensive end that stands at 6'3" and weighs 240 pounds. He's ranked No. 134 in the nation, the No. 7 weak-side defensive end and the eighth-best prospect in the state of Georgia. He was also selected to appear in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Here's ESPN's scouting report (Insider) of the player:
This is a good, tough football player. Displays good lateral mobility and can redirect very quickly. Has very good awareness with a nose for the ball. Can quickly squeeze down, close daylight and sniffs out screens well. Gives very good effort with proper angles and good pursuit speed.
Sawyer brings some versatility to the table as he could fit as a versatile D-Lineman in a 4-3 scheme, but could also project as a 3-4 OLB. A good player who can get around the football and be a highly-productive player.
Here's Sawyer in action during his junior season:
Sawyer is so athletic, he was even utilized as the team's tailback at one point during his senior season. Though he would play fullback at times, North Gwinnett head coach Bob Sphire needed to jump start his offense in a playoff game against Milton and inserted him in the game in the second quarter at tailback.
Sawyer responded, rushing four times for 22 yards and a key touchdown. And North Gwinnett responded as well, scoring 20 points in the quarter.
Said his coach after the game (via the Gwinnett Daily Post), "He’s our inspirational guy. What he did for us on that drive was huge. He wants to win as bad as anyone I’ve ever coached and he’s just that kind of guy."
When you combine the natural athleticism of Sawyer with that desire to win, you get one heck of a football player.