TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Sawyer Deerman is no stranger to Alabama. The Tuscaloosa native lives 10 minutes away from campus and has spent countless Saturdays inside of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Still, last weekend’s visit to the Capstone provided the class of 2023 playmaker with an in-depth look at what it’s like to be a Crimson Tide student-athlete.
“The Junior Day experience was really good,” Deerman said. “I got to experience the whole campus and kind of soak in everything from the student part of the university to the athletic side of it. I really got to understand more in-depth about the college itself and what players do on a day-to-day basis.”
Alabama is familiar with Deerman as well. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound athlete stars at Tuscaloosa's American Christian Academy where he recorded 40 total touchdowns during his junior season, passing for 25 scores while finding the end zone 13 times on the ground and twice on punt returns.
Saturday, the do-it-all star spent time with several Crimson Tide assistants, including his lead recruiter, defensive line coach Freddie Roach, as well as offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and receivers coach Holmon Wiggins.
“They like how versatile I am,” Deerman said, “and they just like my quickness and field vision.”
Alabama currently views Deerman as a slot receiver as well as someone who could serve as a returner on special teams. Along with speaking with O’Brien, Roach and Wiggins, he also got the opportunity to meet newly-hired special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach Coleman Hutzler.
“From the time I got to have with him there, he was a really energetic guy that seemed like a very cool coach,” Deerman said. “He seemed like he’s going to put a lot of his effort into it and have fun while doing it.”
While Deerman wasn’t able to speak with Nick Saban over the weekend, he did sit down with the head coach for an extended conversation before the season this past fall. During that meeting, Saban informed Deerman that he admired his playmaking ability, stating that he reminded him of first-round pick Jaylen Waddle who was also undersized at the college level.
“The first thing he told me was that he’s not worried about my size,” Deerman said. “He told me, ‘We have a big football team, and we protect guys, so your size doesn’t bother me at all.’”
While Saban isn’t concerned about Deerman’s size, it has caused him to be overlooked at times during the recruiting process. Despite putting up prolific numbers in high school and receiving offers from notable programs such as Ole Miss, Tennessee and Michigan State, he has yet to receive a star ranking from any of the major services.
“To be honest, I’ve dealt with that a lot,” Deerman said. “I’ve been up against some of the best guys in the nation and I’ve kind of did my thing against them guys. Deep down I know what I can do. It definitely gives me a lot of motivation when people sleep on me, but at this point, it’s not even about proving everybody wrong anymore. It’s about proving myself right.”
An Alabama offer would certainly boost Deerman’s status, and one might not be too far away for the Tuscaloosa product. Deerman worked out with several Crimson Tide players last summer and is on the coaching staff’s radar. Perhaps the biggest holdup is his lack of reps at the receiver position as he was called on to play quarterback for his high school last season.
“I personally believe that’s the main reason that I haven’t got the offer yet,” Deerman said. “They want to see my receiver film, and I understand that from a recruiting standpoint. … Hopefully, I get more of an opportunity to play receiver this year, but I’m not stressing over it. It will all work itself out.”
Regardless of where he lines up this fall, Deerman is devoting his senior season to proving he has what it takes to be considered by the nation's top programs. As for getting his hometown Crimson Tide to pull the trigger, he says that would be a dream come true.
“It’s hard to put into words,” Deerman said of what it would mean to receive an Alabama offer. “I don’t think people realize the extent of what it would mean to me just living 10 minutes down the road. I obviously grew up watching Alabama football. I’m one of those guys who if Alabama offered, I see myself going in and putting in the work to get out there. At this point, it’s kind of about proving myself right that I can do it. It would mean the world to me to get that offer.”