Ohio State Recruit Jack Sawyer's Silver Lining Playbook

Chris DeVille
Jack Sawyer celebrates a win in 2019.

Editor's note: This article was originally published in our September issue, before the Big Ten made the decision to proceed with a fall 2020 football season.

Uncertainty has defined this year for just about everyone, but Jack Sawyer has always been sure about his dream of playing football for Ohio State. The possibility that the Big Ten would postpone its fall sports slate until winter or spring presented an opportunity for Sawyer, the top-ranked recruit in OSU’s 2021 class, who’d already intended to enroll in January. So on Aug. 14, shortly after Ohio high schools announced a pandemic-shortened football season, he declared he would forgo his senior campaign at Pickerington North to focus on preparing to play for the Buckeyes sooner than he’d originally planned.

“If everything was normal and we weren’t in a worldwide pandemic, it wouldn’t even be a thought in my mind to not play my senior year,” Sawyer said in a late August interview. “Everyone who knows me knows I’m a competitor. I want to get out there and play. But it’s unprecedented times, you know?”

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For Sawyer, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end in the mold of the Bosa brothers and Chase Young, the prospect of jump-starting his college career in a delayed Big Ten season was too enticing to pass up, but first he had to break the news to Pickerington North coach Nate Hillerich.