“I’m way more comfortable,” Gardner said. “Last year was my first year starting, and it was rough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. A lot of adversity I fought through, and I feel like I did a really good job of never giving up, never giving up on myself and my teammates. I feel my teammates recognized that, and my coaches recognized that, and I feel like that will help me.”
Welcome to the fourth(!!!) commitment post of the day, for Cass Tech OL David Dawson. He joins Kyle Bosch, Wyatt Shallman, and teammate Jourdan Lewis in pledging to the Wolverines today in what's clearly a massive conspiracy to force me to work for an entire Saturday/give me carpal tunnel syndrome/turn my keyboard into a smoldering hunk of plastic and aluminum. There might be another commitment coming, as well. If that's the case, you'll have to excuse me for putting off the post until tomorrow. I've heard there's a basketball game tonight.
Anyways, on to Dawson.
4*, 90, #28 OT
Another four-star! There's some disagreement about whether Dawson is a tackle or a guard—I think he'll end up playing inside at Michigan—but his recruitment has blown up in recent weeks and it appears the ratings will follow suit. Dawson is listed at anywhere between 6'2" (ESPN, a low outlier) and 6'5", with the general consensus that he's around 6'4", 305 pounds.
Dawson really started getting noticed on the camp circuit last summer. He spent his first two seasons of high school ball at Cass Tech before moving to Houston for his junior year. Though he's back at Cass Tech for his senior season, the year in Texas explains why he pops up on this Rivals list of the top underclassmen in the Southwest ($):
Dawson is actually a well-known prospect in another region of the country as he moved to Texas from Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech late in the summer. The big junior is a road-grading offensive lineman that is very solid in the running game and could end up possibly moving inside at the next level. He put on a show at several camps and combines over the spring and summer and, being the fertile recruiting area of Houston, should see his stock take off after a few more games this season.
While it took a little longer than Brian Perroni expected for Dawson's recruiting stock to soar, you'll see in his offer list that this indeed happened eventually. Allen Trieu caught Dawson as the Best of the Midwest event last February, naming him the Underclassman MVP ($):
Detroit Cass Tech's David Dawson had a great season and has had a good start to the off-season at the camps and events he has been to. At 6-4, 290, I think he's a future guard still, but he can play inside or outside and has good technique and strength. He was one of the better linemen fundamentally, which was impressive for a young guy.
That's a pretty solid consensus that Dawson projects best to guard, and this is echoed in other reports, as well; that certainly makes sense given his height. Josh Helmholdt evaluated Dawson at last summer's Sound Mind Sound Body camp, placing him in a class with five-star Notre Dame commit Steven Elmer ($):
While Elmer is the early favorite to be the top offensive line target in the state of Michigan, Detroit Cass Tech's David Dawson is likely to push him for that honor. The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder has outstanding technique for a young lineman, and his strength belies his years. He was nearly unbeatable in one-on-ones and promises to be one of the state of Michigan's top talents in the 2013 class.
Technique and strength repeatedly come up when Dawson is discussed; it sounds like he's a pretty polished offensive lineman for his age and he has the physicality to make good use of those technical skills.
More recently, Dawson was named first-team all-combine at the U.S. Army Bowl, being mentioned along with Brendan Mayhon and Dorian Miller for being "immovable objects on the line [who] also moved their feet well for being so massive."
Dawson's offer list ballooned in the last couple of weeks. Before committing to Michigan, he held offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, EMU, Florida State, Indiana, Mizzou, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UCLA, and West Virginia. He also had interest from Colorado, Houston, Iowa, LSU, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
No stats for offensive linemen.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals lists a 40 time of 5.4 seconds, which, um, doesn't sound fake at all. One FAKE out of five, in the hopes that he's actually a bit faster. Considering he's lauded for moving his feet well in his most recent camp appearance, I'd like to think so.
Dawson should slide in at guard along with Kyle Bosch in this class, giving Michigan a pair of top-notch interior linemen. Given Dawson's frame, I think it's also a possibility that the Wolverines think of him as a possibility at center, a huge need for this class. Either way, Michigan could use the depth on the line as soon as the 2013 season, and Dawson provides a high-quality option moving forward along the interior of the line. I'm sure I'll have more on him in the fall, as I'll doubtlessly be taking in at least one—if not more—Cass Tech games this season.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Two offensive linemen down, both likely interior players, means Michigan can go after a couple of high-quality tackles—say, Ethan Pocic and Logan Tuley-Tillman, to throw a couple names out there. We'll see if Michigan thinks they can move Dawson to center or if they decide to pick up another prospect who's actually listed at that position; thus far, the Wolverines haven't offered one, but there's no way they can go through this recruiting cycle without taking a player who can fill that need.
All in all, Michigan now has seven spots filled in a class that should go up to 20-22 players. Six of those players are four-star prospects to at least two recruiting sites, with four of those players committing today. To say the least, this has been a remarkable day—and it might not be over—and a great start in general for Michigan's 2013 class.
I was thinking today was going to be a good day overall, so I decided to wear my Michigan football jersey with player # 1, and lo and behold, 4 commitments from 4 top national prospects. Guess I'm not washing this jersey anytime soon so I can keep good luck going.
Love the commitment of Dawson; going to be a great road grader for the Michigan OL. Time for some tackles in the class now; Pocic and LTT, come on down.
Based on the picture above it looks like Mr. Dawson is one who likes to chew his mouthpiece like I used to do back in the day. I Had to get a new one almost every week. Anyway, I'm very happy he is a Wolverine and let's hope for some more commits!
What a great pick up for Hoke and his staff. They really starting to get all the best players in the state of Michigan, and they are doing it early. Welcome David Dawson and good luck in your senior year at Cass Tech. Go Blue!