The 2013 season was supposed to be a jumping-off point for Charles Sawyer, a year to flourish under a second-year coach, as a leader of a young defense, and perhaps bolster his reputation as third-day NFL draft prospect.
Instead, Sawyer has spent the season watching someone who was supposed to back him up play in his place.
First, injuries were the issue. Then, perhaps just as Sawyer's health was about to allow him to regain his previous form as a two-year starter, he was arrested on a DUI charge.
"As soon as it happened I called and just told (coach Hugh Freeze)," Sawyer said, according to djournal.com. "I wanted to be the first one to tell him. I didn't want anybody else to tell him. I thought that was the more adult way of doing it."
Sawyer was suspended for a game and returned to the team, but that didn't mean his job was handed back to him. Youngster Mike Hilton had his job, and wasn't showing any sign of letting it go.
"I wasn't surprised. In the secondary we have great players all around. Mike Hilton, he went in. There was no hiccup. He went in and did his work, did what he was supposed to do," Sawyer said. "I was telling him, "Do this, do that, do this' and congratulated him on everything he did."
Sawyer (5-foot-11, 178 pounds) has nine tackles on the year, with one interception. He has been playing more of late, and will start Saturday against Idaho -- Hilton is ailing with a hamstring injury. How Sawyer finishes the season might go a long way to determining whether the 2014 NFL Draft finishes with him.