Off the field, Sawyer Dininny could be considered a gentle giant.
Soft-spoken and intelligent, the Youngsville High School senior is modest and popular amongst his teammates and classmates.
On the field amongst opponents is another story.
Photo submitted to the Times Observer
Signs with Edinboro
His high school career may be over, but Youngsville senior Sawyer Dininny, front, isn’t yet finished with football. Dininny recently signed a letter of intent to play college football this fall at Division II Edinboro. As a senior for the 10-0 Region 2 champion Eagles, Dininny was a Region 2 first-team selection as both an offensive and defensive lineman. Dininny signed the letter of intent with, from left, Youngsville football coach Luke Alex, mother, Amy Dininny, and father, Kevin Dininny.
Times Observer file photo
Sawyer Dininny makes tackle
Fiery and tenacious, Dininny is a force to be reckoned with. Be it from his offensive tackle or defensive end position, Dininny was up to almost any challenge that Eagles coach Luke Alex could throw at him.
Both sides of Dininny's personality will be on display this fall.
On Wednesday - National Signing Day - Dininny signed a letter of intent to play football at Division II Edinboro University in the fall. Dininny is being looked at as a possible defensive end or tight end on the offensive side of the ball.
Upon his introduction to the game, Dininny never really considered football after high school as an option. However, as he got older - and bigger - the 6'5 230-pound talent began to let thoughts of NCAA football creep into his mind.
"Around my sophomore year, the coaches started telling me I had the size and ability to get some decent looks," said Dininny. "As I got bigger and stronger - around my junior and senior year - I really began to consider it seriously. I started thinking, 'I'm as big as some of the guys I watch on TV, so maybe I could give this a shot.'"
Dininny's size and strength is directly related to his work ethic. According to Alex, Dininny's practice habits and dedication to the weight lifting program were "second to none".
"You couldn't find a kid in the weight room more than him," said Alex. "His dedication and hard work are second to none. His drive is unmatched and it's going to allow him to compete well at the next level."
"I always wanted to be good at whatever I was doing," added Dininny. "If that meant hitting the weights and putting in the work, than that's what I did."
Dininny also thinks his knowledge of the game will make him an asset to the Fighting Scots. While he admits to playing with a certain degree of aggression on the field, Dininny says he also tries "to keep it within limits and play smart."
"I try to play smart as well," he said. "I pay close attention to detail. Even though I played offensive tackle and defensive end, I could probably tell you what everybody on the field was doing. All the way down to what routes the wide receivers are running. I always wanted to know what everybody's role was. I thought it may help give me an edge on the field."
An undefeated Region 2 championship season by the Eagles during 2011 also helped persuade Dininny to look at the college game. He admitted that the memories made and the unprecedented level of enjoyment he had with the game, made him long to play more football.
"It was just such a good feeling to go out there with your buddies and win," he said. "Everybody was just so excited about what we were doing. I imagine college the same way - only with even more people getting behind us and pulling for us to do well."
Dininny boasted a long list of postseason awards during his time in a Youngsville jersey. He was a Region 2 second-team offensive lineman as a sophomore and junior, a second-team defensive end as a sophomore, a first-team defensive end as a junior and senior and a first-team offensive lineman as a senior.
Those accomplishments won't help him against collegiate competition, but Alex knows what will.
"On defense, he has such a keen ability to get off the ball and gobble up the running back or quarterback," he said. "That takes a special kind of player. If they decide to play him at tight end, he will be a tremendous run blocker. If you have a tight end who blocks as well as Sawyer did at offensive tackle, you've got something that's very hard to find."
While excited about the opportunity to continue his playing career, Dininny is keeping his goals modest - for now. That may change when he gets on the field and lets the fiery and tenacious side of his personality roam free.
"I will get a sense of where I'm at by playing Big 30 this fall," he said. "I'd like to see some playing time as a freshman and maybe start by the end of my sophomore year. I know it's kind of a long shot, but it gives me something to shoot for. I've got to keep working to improve."