South Carolina hit on one of its big recruiting needs Tuesday with a commitment from highly regarded defensive end Dante Sawyer of Suwanee, Ga.
Sawyer (6-3, 250) announced the commitment on Twitter, on his birthday no less, and picked the Gamecocks over Missouri, Auburn and Tennessee.
"I AM OFFICIALLY COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY SOUTH CAROLINA" Sawyer tweeted.
With the Gamecocks losing starting defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton, recruiter Deke Adams sold Sawyer on the chance for early playing time saying that "played a big factor." Sawyer visited USC for the Mississippi State game, and it was then when he got the feeling about becoming a Gamecocks.
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“Being at South Carolina was just a great feeling," Sawyer said. "That’s where God wants me to be and I follow what God says. When I went there I saw how it was to be there.”
Sawyer helped lead his team to a state championship game and finished the season with 60 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks in 12 games.
“He's really an athletic defensive lineman,” said Sawyer's coach Bob Sphire. “He can make game changing plays. He has great skill level to go with his size and he has a sense for where the ball is. He makes big plays in big situations.”
Sawyer, a four-star prospect, becomes the 16th commitment for USC's 2014 class and the fourth for the defensive line.
Sawyer on Tuesday night said he "probably" will take other visits, naming Georgia, Missouri and Auburn as other stops besides a Jan. 17 visit to USC.