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June 2, 2014

Finally settled, Sawyers ready to roll

Most naturally, Michael Sawyers faced one final obstacle before reporting to the University of Tennessee.

Among the Vols' latest and most-prized commodities along the defensive line, Sawyers was a national signing day eve flip to Tennessee after his months-long commitment to Vanderbilt was negated by a coaching change in Music City. Similarly, last week in doing one final interview before settling in on Rocky Top, Sawyers faced some logistical problems following his Ensworth senior class' post-graduation trip to Chicago.

But the All-State standout, Mr. Football finalist and state champion Sawyers has tried to ready himself for the opportunity at hand; Tennessee could play as many as four true freshmen along its defensive front --- and the powerful Sawyers certainly should be in line to learn one of those spots.

Was there anything that was particularly stressful or more bothersome about the recruiting process?

"I'd say it was after I decommitted. All those schools were coming in at the end. I didn't know who was telling the truth and who wasn't. It was hectic. I'd say that was probably the most stressful time.

Now months later, why Tennessee? Was it a 'light-bulb' moment? Did you rest your head on your pillow and know it was Tennessee? What happened?

"At the end, Tennessee just felt like home. All the players there were good, and I could see surrounding myself around them. They made me feel like home. So did the coaches. And the coaches, they're all about the bond with their players and teammates."

How much did you relish one final trip with all your high school friends before reporting to UT?

"We went to Chicago, and it was really good. All my close friends, and then them sending me off to college. It was really nice.

Was there a moment in the recruiting process that really stood out to you? Maybe a mailer you got from a school or something a team did to impress you?

"I'd say it was the in-home visit by Georgia Tech. That was pretty crazy. I got home from school and walked into my living room and they'd brought literally their entire coaching staff. It was like 20 people from Georgia Tech's staff in my living room. I was like, 'Whoa.'

What number will you wear and who will you be rooming with?

"They've got me wearing 72, and I'll be rooming with Josh Malone and Evan Berry and Elliot Berry. I'm looking forward to it. Me and Malone, we've been close for a little bit. It's going to be fun. He's got me up on everything since he's been here [since January]. He's helped me out a lot."

Do you have a meal at home that you'll miss more than others?

"My mom's chicken, macaroni and sweet potatoes. She'd cook it mostly on Sundays, but sometimes when I asked her to."

Lastly, what have you been doing to prepare for this opportunity at Tennessee and try to be ready from the outset?

"I've just been training. I've been running, working out, studying and do everything they've asked me. I'm trying to make an impact as a freshman."

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