Date Committed: 5/26/2012
As a cornerback, Dawson is still a raw prospect, but his upside is what makes him such a valuable commitment. He's a taller corner whose combination of speed and length makes him an intriguing prospect at cornerback. With Terry Hawthorne and Justin Green both graduating, cornerback was a clear position of need, so getting Dawson out of Ohio was an important move for Illinois.
What He Brings:
Dawson is a scrappy player who attacks the ball. He uses his length to blanket receivers and has the foot speed to not only stay with his man, but also recover. With the lack of depth at receiver for Illinois, Dawson may even have an opportunity to take some snaps as a receiver if he can prove himself as a consistent pass-catcher. One positive is that he is already in the habit of reading the quarterback's eyes and locating the ball as soon as it's thrown.
What Can Improve:
Technique will be the main focus for Dawson. His athleticism can only take him so far, and he'll need to refine the technical side of his game to become a more complete corner. With that, he'll need to make more crisp breaks on the ball when jumping routes and adjusting to his receiver's routes.
What Is Unique:
Dawson followed new teammate Jarrod Clements in his commitment to Illinois less than a month after the defensive lineman gave his pledge. The two hope to defend Trotwood-Madison's state title in 2012. As previously mentioned, Dawson is a noticeably raw prospect, but that is mostly due to the fact that he's only been playing organized football for a couple of years, even though much of it is coming naturally to him.