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South Carolina Gamecocks National Signing Day: Dante Sawyer Commitment Profile

Dante Sawyer will finally be joining the team this fall. He will be vital to revitalizing the defensive line.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Name: Dante Sawyer

Position: Defensive End

Height/Weight: 6'2, 262 pounds

Hometown: Suwanee, GA

Rating: 247Sports: Four Star     Rivals: Four Star    ESPN: Four Star

Sawyer was one of the most important recruits from the 2014 class, but he was ruled out academically after NSD last year and was placed at East Mississippi Community College, and is set to join the Gamecocks this fall.  He will be joining in the fall due to NCAA JUCO rules that state that he has to be enrolled at a JUCO for three semester before transferring to any NCAA school.  Sawyer has spent the last semester in at East Mississippi, and thanks to some online classes, he will be good to go after the spring semester.  While he isn't listed as having any offer outside the Gamecocks for his JUCO time, he received offers from most of the major SEC programs, including the Alabama Crimson Tide and Auburn Tigers.  He will start out as a defensive end, but because of his height and the fact that his frame will likely add more weight (he has been reported at being around 280 at some points) Sawyer will likely move inside at some point.

Strengths:

Sawyer is a very impressive prospect and one of his biggest strengths is his ability to stop the run.  He is able to properly identify his gap, and if the running back comes near him, he is usually able to get off his block and make the tackle.  Speaking about tackles, I really like how Sawyer wraps up and brings down the ball carrier on the first hit. He also appears to have the ability to identify where the ball is and how to get to it.  He might be lined up on the other side of the field, but he will do his best to run down the ball carrier and make a play.

Weaknesses:

If there was one thing that Sawyer needs to improve, it would have to be his overall speed.  While he does posses initial quickness, overall he is not a speedy pass rusher. He normally needs to rely on his strength to overcome his blockers rather than speeding around him.  Since he does project as a defensive tackle in the long term, it isn't a huge deal, but at least for his first season at USC, it may prevent him from coming in on pass rush situations, unless the quarterback has some running ability.

Overall:

Since Sawyer does have the experience from being in a JUCO for a season, he has already gone through his redshirt year and will likely earn a good deal of playing time this season.  I would expect to see him line up where current strong side end Gerald Dixon lines up.  I look forward to seeing what he can do next year in the garnet and black.