Former Vols DL pleads guilty to lesser theft charge

Written By Bob Hille
Former Vols DL Michael Sawyers
(Matthew S. DeMaria/Tennessee Athletics)

Former Tennessee defensive lineman Michael Sawyers pleaded guilty in Knox County (Tenn.) court Wednesday to misdemeanor theft in plea deal that could allow the charge to be removed from his record in a year, the Tennessean reported.

A 4-star recruit out of The Ensworth School in Nashville, Sawyers (6-3, 306) appeared in four games as a freshman in 2014 but was dismissed from the Vols program after the season for what coach Butch Jones called a violation of team and athletics department policy.

MORE: SEC team-by-team icons | SN Top 25 | All-Americans

Sawyers, 19, originally was charged in March with felony theft, stemming from an incident in which he was accused of stealing an Xbox and three games from a Tennessee dorm.

He has enrolled at an out-of-state junior college and hopes to return to Division I football, his attorney, Keith Lee Lieberman, told the Tennessean.

"He has no reason to ever come back to Knoxville," Lieberman said. "To fight this case, it would take a couple years by the time it would come to jury trial. So I can understand why he would want to put this behind him."

According to the Tennessean, the plea deal requires Sawyers to pay $176 in restitution, in addition to court costs. He also entered a diversion program that would allow the charge to be removed from his' record in a year if he stays out of trouble.

Latest News

Hoosiers chasing Ohio State's 'gold standard' with Big Ten title in mind
Bender: Indiana encore worth watching
College football realignment updates: Latest news as Texas, Oklahoma reportedly leave Big 12
College football realignment updates
A Big 12 without Texas, Oklahoma? Conference's best realignment options
Bender: Big 12 survival plan without OU, Texas
Jim Harbaugh-010120-GETTY-FTR
Michigan, Jim Harbaugh using new defense to defend against Ohio State streak, hot-seat talk
Bender: Michigan, Harbaugh love new-look defense
Big Ten, with lack of options, right to avoid expansion talk for now
Bender: Big Ten in wait-and-see mode with expansion talk