Posted: 1:22 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, 2013
By Christian D'Andrea
Vanderbilt's recruiting class of 2014 just got a big boost from a local source. Ensworth rising senior Mike Sawyers, a hulking defensive tackle, made his commitment to the Commodores public on Wednesday.
Sawyers is a 6'2", 307 pound prospect who can stuff the run and get upfield to pressure quarterbacks. ESPN has him as a four-star recruit, while Rivals lists him as a high three-star player. He chose the Commodores over schools like Miami, Nebraska, and Tennessee.
He's the second member of the 2014 recruiting class to commit from one of Nashville's prestigious private schools. Defensive tackle Jashon Robertson, who committed to the team over a year ago, is a standout at Montgomery Bell Academy. Together, the two will combine with 2013 signee Jay Woods to give the 'Dores a very bright future in the middle of their defensive line. The pair will add about 600 pounds of mass to Vanderbilt's pass rush.
The pickup was huge for the Commodores. Vandy was facing some big holes to fill in 2014 with returning starter Jared Morse set to graduate next spring. Juniors Barron Dixon and Vince Taylor will remain in Nashville to give the team some experience at the position, but the 'Dores will be counting on some inexperienced players after that. If either Sawyers or Robertson can make a big impact early in their college careers, these two could end up seeing significant playing time as true freshmen.
Their presence should also have an impact across the Vandy defensive line. The Commodores had shifted Caleb Azubike, who had a standout year as a true freshman end last fall, to the interior this spring. The return of Morse (from disciplinary action) and the addition of young, talented tackles should be enough to keep him on the edge. Azubike, a strong, athletic pass rusher, has the potential to grow into one of the SEC's best DEs if he can continue growing. With his quickness and strength, he may be better suited there than as a run stuffer on the inside.
Sawyers's commitment was a huge pickup for Vanderbilt. Not only did James Franklin and Sean Spencer add a four-star player to the fold, they did so with the investigation into a possible scandal still looming in Nashville. If the 'Dores can hold on to both Sawyers and Robertson, they'll add an impressive layer of depth and potential to the middle of their defensive line.