Jack Sawyer Ohio State Buckeyes Defensive End

Today’s Jack Sawyer, Mean, Mean Pride

Ohio State defensive end Jack Sawyer was one of 11 Buckeyes who chose a return to OSU this year over attempting to make the move to the NFL ranks.

The way the season ended was both a reason for him to leave and a reason for him to stay. The results on the field against Michigan and Missouri were not the way he wanted to go out, but the way he performed individually down the stretch was exactly what a player is looking for when he is considering leaving for the NFL draft.

Sawyer tied for the Ohio State lead with 10.0 tackles for loss last year and led the team outright with 6.5 sacks. He posted 28 of his 48 tackles in the Buckeyes’ final six games of the year. Over his last three games, he produced 7.5 of his 10 tackles for loss — and 5.0 of his 6.5 sacks.

He was at his best down the stretch, which is what coaches want from all of their players. But it also provides a glimpse at what could be expected from Sawyer this year as a senior.

“Yeah, you know, I think I felt like I was in a groove, probably the whole second half of the season,” Sawyer said. “I felt like myself again and I was just out there playing, and having fun with my teammates.”

When Sawyer signed with Ohio State as a five-star prospect, he wasn’t necessarily expecting to be here as a senior. Plans are nice, but circumstances will rarely be ignored.

Despite leading the team in sacks each of the past two years and finishing third as a true freshman in 2021, expectations have still been a difficult thing to meet.

“I think that when you come here and you expect to hit the field, and it to be a certain way, it’s hard to get over that for a little bit,” Sawyer said. “And I think you can look at kind of all of us on the D line, as a front, we all kind of had our own journey to how we’re playing right now.”

Sawyer wasn’t alone in his expectations. The Ohio State defensive line — also known as the Rushmen — has had the weight of anticipation placed upon them for years now. Defensive end classmate JT Tuimoloau was a five-star signee the same year as Sawyer, and Tyleik Williams was the Buckeyes’ most-productive defensive tackle last year. Each of the three could have definitely left for the NFL just as they planned years ago, but other goals remain.

“Now it’s just all about building and not looking back and playing how we know how to play and being confident out there and using our abilities that God’s given us,” Sawyer said. “So I think that this whole next year you’re just gonna see a whole different level of play from all of us.”

Jack Sawyer is back for his final tour with the Buckeyes. There will be no more do-overs. No more rehearsals.

The plan this year is to move past any frustrations and pass them on to the opponent.

“I’ve known all along what I was capable of, and it was frustrating the first few years not playing for whatever reason on the field to what I was capable of,” he said. “But once you just put that stuff to the side, just go out there and play ball like you know how, it’s gonna take care of itself.”

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