Sawyer steps up after graduation
MON. | 01-03-22 | SPORTS
Rose alumni David Sawyer graduated from Rose in 2019, and is now a junior attending Columbia University in New York City on a football scholarship.
Under former head coach Dave Wojtecki, Sawyer played four years of Rose varsity football where he accomplished numerous achievements. He was chosen to attend the Blue-Grey All-American Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Jan. 29, 2019, was a two-time unanimous All-Conference selection as an offensive lineman and a two-time All-County selection.
Each of these titles and accomplishments led Sawyer to be heavily recruited by some of the top football programs around the country for both academics and athletics.
“I was recruited by UNC,”
Sawyer said. “They were one of the top ones I was thinking about— Clemson, Harvard and obviously Columbia.”
Although he also considered Clemson, Harvard and UNC, Sawyer ended up choosing Columbia for multiple reasons, the most beneficial of which was its impact on his post-college life. Ivy League universities are known for their dedication to academic excellence as well as their extremely selective admittance policies. According to the College Gazette, Columbia is towards the top of the Ivy League, trailing only Princeton and Harvard. Columbia University football is a division one program and has had a successful athletic history.
“Columbia, being in New York City, has a lot of connections,” Sawyer said. “Professionally I want to do investment banking, which is pretty tough to get into, and Columbia is called a target school for investment banking; they like to recruit heavily out of Columbia, so that was really attractive to me.”
Growing up in Greenville and playing for Rose had a large impact on him being able to get to where he is today. He was prepared by his teachers and coaches to get to the next level academically and athletically.
“Athletically, I had a really good offensive line coach and we practiced really intensely and the technique he taught us was really on point,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer also mentioned that playing college football had been an almost lifelong goal of his, causing him to work even harder.
“I wanted to play college football since I was like seven years old; it's always been a dream,” Sawyer said. “Whenever I was younger I played quarterback and linebacker, and then once I actually started playing real football I played offensive line.”
The transition from high school to college is a huge deal and there are responsibilities for athletes in college that are absent in high school. Many people do not know the added task that comes with playing such a major sport like football.
“The biggest difference for me personally is in high school, you have a lot of really strong guys on the offensive line and defensive line and then you also have a lot of really fast guys at the skill position such as wide receivers, but in college everybody’s fast and everybody’s strong,” Sawyer said. “I'd say another big difference is the mental side of things [as it is] definitely a much more mentally taxing game in college; because the defense is so much more exotic.”
Columbia University's Baker Athletics Complex, which is what they use for their football stadium, holds 17,100 people. Crowds make a huge difference on the mental side of the games, as that is a big jump from playing on a high school field.
“I'm usually pretty nervous, but I also play with pretty high intensity,” Sawyer said. “I like to really get hyped up and excited, so I would say [it's from] a combination of nervousness and excitement.”
While Sawyer enjoys playing college football, he explains that doing so is very time consuming for him. Learning how to juggle school and football can be a lot.
“[I’m] very busy; we have to take all of our classes in the morning because we have practice at our athletic facility which is a forty minute drive away, so i'm on the bus by 12:00 and I have lifting at 1:00 and then we have meetings from 2:00-3:00 p.m.,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer is grateful for his opportunity to play college football which was given to him through Rose and a lot of hard work. While at times the environment feels different from what he is used to, and doing so can be stressful and time consuming, he is still glad that he can follow his childhood dream and use these experiences to grow as a person and a player.