County High’s Quarterback Plays With A Winner’s Heart
If you saw Tuscaloosa County Wildcats senior quarterback Sawyer Deerman, you would never know he almost never played a down of football.
The electric playmaker was born with hole in his heart. At two-years-old, his parents, Terry and Jennifer Deerman had to make one of toughest decisions a parents would ever have to make. They allowed doctors to perform open heart surgery on their baby boy.
"I had never been so scared in my life," says Terry. "That night in the hospital I was worrying myself sick. Not knowing what the outcome would be. This older lady approached me and asked me to pray, and I finally caved in. We prayed I went to sleep, waking up able to be there for my wife and son."
Two years later little Sawyer was playing football, baseball, and basketball.
Imagine that, two years after not knowing if your son would survive that intense of a surgery to watching run up and down a football field. Deerman loved all sports, and after moving to Tuscaloosa from West Blocton he started attending American Christian Academy.
By eighth grade he was playing varsity for the Patriots and ACA legend Chris Smelley. Deerman was " Mr. Everything" playing quarterback, running back, wide receiver and any position in the secondary. He was an electric player and soon college scouts started taking notice during his sophomore season.
Before his junior season he was asked to take on a new role for the Patriots. Coach Smelley left and was replaced by Cody Martin who asked Sawyer to take on the role of being QB1. Deerman stepped into the role with ease, taking the Patriots to the third round of the 4A state playoffs, but a new challenge laid still ahead of the dynamic playmaker.
"My time at ACA taught me a lot. I had a great relationship with coach Smelley and he taught me a lot, but coach Martin's system allowed me too truly be me," Sawyer said.
College coaches were impressed after strong junior campaign, but wanted to see what Deerman could do against tougher competition.
The Deerman family started to make a plan.
It started with 7A powerhouse Thompson High School, but after thinking it through he didn't want to put that strain on his family. Then came 6A Hillcrest Patriots after spending the spring there.
Deerman realized to get to the next level he needed somewhere that would help showcase his skillset, and that's when the 7A Tuscaloosa County High Wildcats presented an opportunity Deerman couldn't pass up.
"Coach (Adam) Winegarden and coach (Antonio) Ford helped me fall back in love with football," said Sawyer. "The recruiting process really started to take that away, but they helped me focus back on the game."
Many might question why a talented athlete trying to make it to the next would transfer to a school would was that was 1-9 the year before. Deerman spoke about the culture shift and wanting to be a part of something bigger than himself. Deerman talked about coming in and just wanting to mesh with his new teammates. He talked about junior running back Kevin Riley, and senior Dre Brown helping with the transition and being a part of the turnaround.
He credits offensive coordinator Scott Clements for a lot of his success comparing him to USC HC Lincoln Riley and Ole Miss HC Lane Kiffin. Deerman wasn't one to brag but it's no doubt he's a major factor in the 3-0 start for the Wildcats, but what else is expected from the kid with a winner's heart.