December 15, 2008

Sawyer: Ole Miss felt like home away from home

Charles Sawyer knew he had found a home when he landed in Miami Sunday afternoon.

After spending 48 hours at Ole Miss, the cornerback from Miami (Coral Reef), Fla., noticed the obvious change of scenery upon his return to sunny south Florida, but he noticed something else as well.

"I did a lot of thinking when I left and during the trip," Sawyer said. "I realized that the scenery was different but the feeling of being was no different. I felt like I was part of the family.

"When I left, I really didn't even want to leave. I was ready to go back when I got off the plane. That's how much I enjoyed myself. I can't wait to start working out with them and being a part of Coach (Houston) Nutt's family."

The 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback committed to Ole Miss Monday, choosing the Rebels over Vanderbilt, Purdue, Kentucky, Louisville, Central Florida, Colorado State and more.

"I can play there," Sawyer said. "I saw the school, the academics and there is no way to not succeed at that school."

During Ole Miss' bowl preparation practices Friday and Saturday, Sawyer watched intently, refusing to be bothered.

"I was trying to put myself in their shoes," Sawyer said. "I was telling them when I was watching them on TV, even before all the recruiting really started, I thought it would be cool to meet these players. As I got there, it was like a dream come true. I always wanted to play in the SEC. It just seemed like they had so much fun and so much passion. Now I'll be there next year."

Ole Miss needs help at cornerback, as evidenced by the 20th-ranked Rebels' No. 11 ranking among SEC defenses defending the pass. Sawyer will certainly get a chance to impress early. Can he take advantage?

"It depends on the athlete," Sawyer said. "It depends on the player. My mindset since the beginning of high school is I'm going to work to take somebody's position. I'm going to work to not only be the best corner at Ole Miss but the best in the SEC. I think I can go there and work and earn a spot."

Sawyer said he noticed in the second half of the season, when Ole Miss won five games in a row to earn a spot in the Jan. 2 AT&T Cotton Bowl against No. 8 Texas Tech, that the Rebels "got that Ole Miss swagger. They felt like they can't be stopped. I like that. That shows on the field and off the field that your teammate/brother/classmate has you and will be there for you."

Now Sawyer wants to help Ole Miss take the next step. On Sunday, when four-star running back Rodney Scott committed to the Rebels, he talked about being part of the signing class that finally guided Ole Miss to Atlanta, site of the SEC Championship Game.

"Me and him are thinking just alike," Sawyer said. "I feel it. The players now are getting to the Cotton Bowl. The players we're getting in now are going to get us just that little bit more and to the national championship. I'll sacrifice anything and give everything I've got to make that happen."

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