As we approach the one-year anniversary of 2021 five-star defensive end Jack Sawyer's commitment to Ohio State, it is only right that we break down what makes him so special. Sawyer was the Buckeye's first commitment in the 2021 class and is one of the highest-rated recruits ever to commit to Ohio State.
Sawyer has prototypical measurables for an edge rusher at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, then you throw in the freakish athleticism that allows him to dunk a basketball with ease and chase down just about any high school running back.
What truly makes him a five-star, however, is what he can do on the field with his quick get-off at the line, absolute man strength when he makes contact and relentless effort between the lines. Additionally, Sawyer already has a wide variety of pass-rushing moves.
Those four key abilities are what we're going to take a look at in Sawyer's commitment film breakdown.
The first thing to look at for a pass-rusher is how quickly he gets moving once the ball is snapped. Sawyer has one of the quickest get-offs you'll see at the high school level, where he is often already in the offense's backfield before the tackle has left his stance. He often uses this get-off to bend and turn the corner and explode to the quarterback.
Here are three plays from Sawyer's junior film that highlight that ability:
- Play one: Bottom of the screen, outside the left tackle. Pause the clip the moment the ball is snapped and you’ll see Sawyer already starting his rush. With his speed, the tackle has no way to recover from his get off and Sawyer gets an easy sack.
- Play two: Bottom of the screen, outside the tight end. This play was set up so Sawyer would have to go around the tight end to rush, taking more time. However, with his speed and get-off Sawyer is already chasing the quarterback by the time the offensive lineman is in his set, resulting in an easy sack.
- Play three: Top of the screen, outside the left tackle. Once again, as soon as the ball is snapped, Sawyer is a step-and-a-half in the backfield. The lineman can't slow him down and the quarterback has no chance.
Power at the point of attack
Beyond having a lighting quick get-off, Sawyer also has very good power at the point of attack. Coming out of his stance, Sawyer has a powerful punch that he uses to stun offensive tackles, often putting them in the dirt or in their quarterback's lap.
He has quite a few plays that show the power in his game, but here are three big ones:
- Play one: Top of the screen, outside the right tackle. Sawyer is off the line quickly once again, then delivers a two-hand punch to the lineman that plants him in the dirt. He discards the offensive tackle and takes down the quarterback for another sack.
- Play two: Middle of the screen, outside the left tackle. Sawyer is moving right when the ball is snapped, giving the tackle a heavy punch. He shreds through the offensive line, finding the ball carrier and tackling him for a loss behind the line.
- Play three: Left of the screen, outside the right tackle. Now in a stand-up position, Sawyer blows right through the offensive lineman to the ballcarrier and makes a key stop on the goal line.
Sawyer will surely continue to add strength once he gets to Ohio State but as things stand right now, he already has more than enough.
Sometimes in the game of football, your speed or technique still isn't enough and that is when effort kicks in. Sawyer understands to never give up on a play and because of his great effort, he has been successful often on the football field.
A relentless effort is easy to see on film and here are three plays that highlight Sawyer's effort:
- Play one: Left of the screen, outside the right tackle. Sawyer quickly reads the quarterback rolling out away from him. He then uses his freakish athleticism and effort to run across the field grabbing the quarterback and throwing him down for a short gain.
- Play two: Top of the screen, outside the right tackle. Once again in a stand-up position, Sawyer bites on the quarterback run and then has to recover to the running back. Using his speed and effort, he runs down the ballcarrier stopping him for a loss.
- Play three: Bottom of the screen, outside the right tackle. Sawyer uses his quick get-off to knock the tackle backward, but he trips. However, while on the ground, he continues to work, eventually getting to the quarterback's ankle and taking him down for a sack.
Effort has nothing to do with skill or athleticism, it's all about how bad you want it, and Sawyer always seem to want it more than the man across from him.
It's not necessarily rare for a high-school pass-rusher to have athleticism, power and effort, but what makes Sawyer so special already is his hand usage and pass-rushing technique. It is not often that a high schooler has an understanding of the art of pass-rushing like Saywer does. Not only can he win with power and speed, but he can win with pass-rushing moves like a cross chop or a spin.
These pass-rushing moves make him an elite prospect, and here are three plays that highlight his advanced technique:
- Play one: Top of the screen, outside the left tackle. Sawyer sells the speed rush off the line getting the tackle to overset. He then spins back inside where he grabs the quarterback and throws him down for a sack.
- Play two: Middle of the screen, outside the left tackle. He bursts off the line and sees the tackle overextend his hands. Sawyer then chops the tackle's hands down, leaving him blocking air while he takes down the quarterback for a sack.
- Play three: Bottom of the screen, outside the right tackle. Sawyer again uses his speed to dip and rip around the tackle. Once past the tackle, he finds the quarterback, taking him down for a sack.
Sawyer's technique and hand work are already advanced for a high school pass-rusher, and combined with his physical traits and effort, that makes him one of the top prospects in the recruiting class of 2021.