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April 12, 2013There's just something about Alabama.
Maybe it's Nick Saban. Maybe it's the houndstooth. Or maybe it's just the way the Crimson Tide wins, racking up three of the last four national championships and dominating college football like no program has in years.
That's why for Fort Worth's Foster Sawyer, there was something special about Saban offering him a scholarship the morning of March 14.
"It was really rewarding," said the 6-foot-5, 225-pound quarterback, who at the time already held offers from TCU, Oklahoma State and UCLA, among others. "It shows that I've truly been blessed."
But there's also something about home.
That's why Thursday afternoon, after he got out of school, Sawyer called TCU coach Gary Patterson. He was ready to be a Horned Frog, choosing his hometown school over Alabama and Oklahoma State.
Sawyer's pledge gave TCU its fifth commitment of the 2014 class, including its second quarterback. Decatur's Grayson Muehlstein committed in February.
"I really made my decision (Wednesday) night," he said. "I prayed with my family, talked about it. I woke up (Thursday) morning, and it was still on my mind. I just kind of went with it, and I felt like this was the place I needed to be at."
Signing with TCU next February would give Sawyer the chance to continue his football career a mere miles from All Saints Episcopal School, where Sawyer led the Saints to an undefeated season and SPC state championship last year.
Throughout the process, Sawyer said he didn't ignore the recent successes of the Crimson Tide or the Cowboys, who won the Big 12 title in 2011.
Ultimately, it was a decision based on fit and feel, and TCU, where his mother and brother graduated from and another brother is a freshman, felt right.
"Obviously, Alabama is very, very successful, but for me all that's awesome. It's what I'm looking for in a program, but it's not all I'm looking for in a program," he said. "I'm looking for a school that's going to fit me and how I'm going to help it as well."
Sawyer said he forced himself to see himself at a school, as a student, which he admitted was sometimes hard to do.
"It's tough as a high school kid to kind of not listen to the fluff, I'd guess you say, and just be more real with yourself and see yourself as a student and that was TCU for me," he said.
It took Sawyer nearly a month after picking up the Alabama offer to decide, and even longer since picking up the TCU offer in February, but his decision wasn't too hard, he said. TCU felt right. He's comfortable because of that.
"It wasn't really tough," he said. "Yeah, I had some restless nights, but I'm finally at peace with it and just happy to be at TCU."
But with Muehlstein already pledged, Sawyer likely won't be the only talented quarterback arriving on campus next summer. Naturally, there will be competition between the two, probably immediately and perhaps even later on as the starting job opens up. Sawyer is OK with that.
"All the advice I've been given to make the decision is that there's competition wherever you go - Alabama, Oklahoma State, TCU - anywhere," he said. "There's competition. And there's competition in life and that's something that makes you or breaks you. It doesn't really affect me."
Muehlstein's commitment, which came one day after Sawyer was offered in February, never altered TCU's position in his mind, Sawyer said.
He wants to win a national championship, and it was something Patterson told him during his recruitment that he said convinced him that would be possible at TCU.
"Coach Patterson said you can make a national championship team in the DFW area," he said. "And that meant a lot to me, to stay in Texas. I'm a big Texas guy, so that right there just kind of showed my yeah, why can't we? It would be awesome to kind of be the Fort Worth guy. It's my hometown. And I want to try to bring a championship or a bowl back to Fort Worth again."