2013 Recruiting: David Dawson Comment Count

Brian June 13th, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton, DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler.

Detroit, MI – 6'4", 285



4*, #144 overall
#7 OG


4*, #165 overall
#9 OG, #5 MI


4*, #91 overall
#2 OG, #2 MI


4*, #65 overall
#3 OG, #1 MI

Other Suitors

OSU, Bama, Florida, FSU, USC, MSU

YMRMFSPA Chris McDonald (MSU)
Previously On MGoBlog Hello post. Hello post the second. Ace scouts Cass versus OLSM and Renaissance. Oh and Brother Rice. Ace interviews Dawson at SMSB.
Notes Cass Tech (all people ever). Twitter.


Spent his junior year in Houston, which is why this doesn't look like Cass:

Also camp highlights in two segments and a focus on Dawson in CT's second round playoff game against Dearborn.

David Dawson's soap opera recruitment was explosive and momentarily depressing but worked out for the best in the end. An early Michigan commit, Dawson had other coaches in his ear and gave into their pitchfork whispers, taking a visit to Florida that the Michigan coaches were blindsided by. They yanked his scholarship offer, Florida seemed not to have room for him—or he just didn't like it much and wanted to stay close to home—and a reeling Dawson started saying unwise things on twitter and putting Ohio State and Michigan State at the top of his list. The jilt was on.

Meanwhile all of this was happening in the immediate aftermath of the tragic death of Dawson's father, a Department of Transportation employee who was struck and killed by a motorist as he attempted to help a guy pulled over to the side of the road. If any recruit has ever deserved a vision quest, it's Dawson.

Dawson's emotions were on his sleeve on Twitter, and eventually they moved away from jilted to regretful. His heart was still in Ann Arbor. So he did a thing. He sucked it up, talked to the coaches, and got them to offer once more. Hatchet buried, Dawson took a moment for dignity and committed shortly after. And they lived happily ever after.

What the last six months have been like for him: It has been crazy. I'm glad it's over. I'm not going to miss this. I'm thankful for the coaches that talked to me, but I'm so happy with Michigan.

If you talked shit to Dawson on twitter, learn.


This is good because Dawson is really good. You can see by the rankings about that the sites have him in the top handful of guards in the country, and since he was a Cass kid those rankings are backed by camp after camp after camp. He was excellent at all of these. I was checking out some 1-on-1s for the Taco Charlton post and stumbled onto a few Dawson reps mixed in. At this point I've seen a fair share of those things and as you might imagine, that's a drill heavily slanted towards the defense. So when Dawson stoned—like, stood up and slow-danced with—OSU commit Billy Price, my interest was piqued.

But don't take my word for it. Take everyone's. Steve Wiltfong($) caught him at SMSB last year, when the main event was Dawson versus touted CA DE Joe Mathis:

David Dawson is one mean cuss. The Michigan commit violently took it to sought after defensive lineman Joe Mathis in two easily won matches of tire tug-a-war. In 1-on-1s, he was a bully of an offensive lineman, going back and forth with Mathis and dominating nearly everyone else he faced. He delivers a good punch and has a great base. Has really reshaped his body from the season and is down 25 pounds to 280. You could tell the nation’s No. 9 offensive guard is not carrying much extra weight on his 6-foot-5 frame.

One mean cuss! If only this had been said about Chris Fox we would be in business, man. I might call Fox "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" anyway. Someone call him a mean cuss.

This was far from an isolated evaluation. Both ESPN and 247 named him the top overall performer at the Columbus NFTC camp (the one that happened mere days after his father passed). 247:

1. David Dawson, OL, Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech. A player with good length, Dawson showed good athleticism as an edge protector in one-on-ones but really separated himself with his finisher’s mentality. Dawson really fought to win his reps in one-on-ones and many of those reps he won with authority.


The nation's No. 1 offensive guard dominated during one-on-ones, earning MVP honors. Quite possibly there has not been a lineman this year that showcased the power and quickness Dawson did with his initial punch. The future Wolverine is ahead of his years, demonstrating nearly flawless technique in his pass-protection setting.

Various other reviews talk about Dawson in terms that would be uncomplimentary if we were not talking about a football player. 247's Clint Brewster:

Dawson is a bully. Dawson is tough as nails and wont shy away from anyone. He has a great base and an extremely strong core. His technique is nearly flawless and he does a great job with hand-placement and just simply overpowering his opponent.

Tim Sullivan noted he'd move up after leaving a "trail of destruction($)" in multiple camps:

Dawson looks thin at 6-5, 305 pounds - almost like a linebacker - and if that weight is accurate, he has the frame to play at well over 320 pounds in college without sacrificing any of his athleticism. …  nearly-dominant in one-on-one drills, pancaking defensive linemen on occasion (something that's not all that common in these drills), and only losing a couple reps, both when he was wrong-footed by a speed rush.

You get the idea. A mean cuss with dominating strength. Probably. ESPN's evaluation is kind of meh for a guy who they rate the #2 guard in the country—a symptom of their fire and forget evaluation style, perhaps:

… very good size, looks to have a thick lower body and the room to potentially add some more good mass… displays the tools to be a productive run and pass blocker. In the run game, he does a very good job with hand placement and will work to reroute his hands when he can't initially gain positioning. He maintains a good base and can generate good leg drive to create push. … playing with his hand down more in the run game could help him to regulate his pad level better. He displays good pull/trap ability and is able to stay under control, locate and get a hat on active second level targets. … doesn't wow you in any particular way, but he is a big kid with the tools to be a good, well-rounded and productive college lineman.

I'm just excising all the stuff about playing lower from now on, as we can agree that there has never been an OL or DL evaluation that does not mention pad level.

Dawson's abilities extended to actual football in pads last fall. Since Dawson was a Cass guy and not Delano Hill (ie, committed to Iowa during the season), Ace had multiple opportunities to check him out. Ace, like everyone else, was a fan. Dawson versus Orchard Lake St. Mary's:

OL David Dawson (2013 commit): Dawson has reached the point where I almost assume that he'll dominate. While the Cass Tech line as a whole struggled, Dawson was a bright spot, getting huge push in the run game and holding up well on the edge in pass protection. His mean streak was once again on full display as he consistently played to—and through—the whistle, and it was obvious that OLSM defenders were frustrated going up against him.

In the kickoff classic:

repeatedly paved the way for big run and physically dominated the man across from him. Dawson has outstanding technique, getting his hands right into the defender and knocking him off the ball. He's also one of the quickest linemen I've seen off the snap; at times, it looked like he was false-starting, but it was just a really good jump. On nearly every play he was the first lineman on either side to get off the snap and set.

Vesus Renaissance:

stellar at left tackle, as usual, paving the way for a big day on the ground and keeping QB Jayru Campbell upright in pass protection. … Cass Tech actually pulled Dawson on several run plays—linebackers had little hope of shedding his blocks and often found themselves being escorted several yards downfield. Dawson's reputation of playing to—and through—the whistle is well-earned.

If we can't call him The Fantastic Mr. Fox we might go with David "To And Through" Dawson. Sonny, you don't know about mean cusses these days. Let me tell you about Ol' To And Through. Must have been dickety-six or dickety-seven when he staved a cow's face in on the field. You see, the 'hioans were so desp'rate to prevent their tackles from being flung into the stands like so many Joe Bauserman passes that they press-ganged any livestock they came across, hopin' Ol' To And Through wouldn't stave their faces in. No such luck. Cartilage everywhere. That's why 'hio State changed their nickname to the Bleeding Sobbing Noseless Cows. True story. Fetch me my robot arms, boy.

I digress.

Dawson did have some technical issues, but ones he worked through. When Mike Farrell caught him at the Rivals Five Star Challenge last year he noted that Dawson tended to dominate reps or get blown through:

Dawson showed a great punch off the snap, and when he got his hands on opponents, he dominated them. However, when his first punch wasn't effective, defensive linemen went past him with ease. With Dawson, it was either win or lose within the first few seconds of each rep.

A couple weeks later at the Opening, Dawson had corrected that:

Dawson has become more patient in two short weeks…. showed the ability to get out, move his feet, keep his arms extended and not rely on a big punch off the snap. This allowed him to effectively ride defenders outside the target area and let him use his long arms much more effectively.

Tim Sullivan also noted that sometimes Dawson's aggressiveness was a detriment:

Dawson has a nasty attitude, and wants to see the player across from him humiliated by the time the whistle blows. Unfortunately, his aggressiveness gets the better of him sometimes, and he'll lunge for the defender instead of locking on and driving. It's effective at the high school level, but he won't be dominant in college without better technique.

That stuff will get hammered out, as Dawson seems to be a coachable guy. You've got the quick-turnaround development story just above and another couple notes about Dawson picking things up quickly as he moved around in various camp environments and across various OL positions. Another Five-Star note:

Though pass protection on the interior is completely different than at tackle he made a seamless transition. He has a strong base and used his lower body strength to hold the big noseguards at bay. Dawson should prove to be invaluable in Ann Arbor because of his versatility and willingness to play wherever he is needed.

And this from the UA game:

…impressed in a very important way Tuesday. It's one thing to have the physical talent the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder possess, but he very much impressed from a cerebral standpoint. Dawson knew assignments, and received praise for that from the coaching staff in a setting in which many linemen look lost on day one and two.

While we are lacking the rapturous quote from the coach about how this guy should be raffled off to the most eligible debutantes in a three-state radius, evident coachability is at least a nod in that direction.

Etc.: Here is a really sad article about Dawson and his dad. Here is your epic MSU schadenfreude thread. Like Kugler, he was a 247 All-American.

Why Chris McDonald? I had to give up on a reasonable Michigan comparison here. There hasn't been a Michigan guard this century that seems even a little like Dawson except Baas, who I just used for Kugler, and Hutchinson, who I used for Kalis last year. I mean: Heinige, Moosman, Lentz, Kraus, Omameh, Mitchell… none of these folks really evoke mean-cuss run-oriented guard.

So, McDonald. Dawson has higher upside than McDonald, who topped out as an honorable All Big Ten, undrafted FA type, but in terms of how they might play it's a decent fit. TFY Draft's scouting report on McDonald:

Positive: Athletically limited offensive lineman who gets the most from his ability. Strong, stays square, and controls defenders at the point of attack. Keeps his head on a swivel, shows good awareness, and works well with linemates. Keeps the defender in front of him and jolts opponents with good hand punch.

Negative: Gets tall, which robs him of leverage. Stiff and ineffective blocking in motion.

Dawson has more athleticism than a guy ranked in the teens in Michigan his recruiting year; other than that, seems accurate. McDonald was a good pass protector for a guard—one sack allowed in his final two years—and was pretty much the only consistent player on MSU's line the last couple years, earning a reputation as a hard-nosed drive blocker first and foremost.

I did think about re-using the two stars above, particularly Hutch, but I like to keep the bazooka in the holster as much as possible.

Guru Reliability: Exacting. Consensus, high profile, camps, All Star game.

Variance: Low-plus. I never give OL a "low." Other than that, Dawson is already an advanced technician, comes with a mean streak attached, and doesn't have to add too much weight or reshape his body much.

Ceiling: High. Maybe lacks perfect NFL size. Maybe. He's a guard and it seems like you can't give a guard "vast" for a similar reason you can't give it to a middle linebacker. But I mean. You guys.

General Excitement Level: Very high. He has all the things you want. Usually I look owlishly at guys who waver all over the place, but I mean… if you don't have your decisions go a little wonky when you're 17 and your dad dies, you are a robot.

Projection: Is OL, redshirt.

After that he will probably have to push past an established starter if he wants to see playing time. He's rooting for Ben Braden to win the left guard job, as Braden will move outside next year. If it's Glasgow he's got a tougher road to hoe.

Either way it' going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight with Kyle Kalis presumably on track to being a four-year starter, Kyle Bosch equally touted and already on campus, Chris Bryant still being huge, Blake Bars existing, and Glasgow being just as large and possibly more experienced than anyone. Oh and Mason Cole is coming in behind this madness with plenty of recruiting credentials to his name.

I have no idea who wins that melee. I do know that whoever does is going to kick ass. Gun to my head, I cower, void my bowels, and accept my fate. And bet on Dawson. Or Bosch. Please don't put a gun to my head about this.



June 13th, 2013 at 3:07 PM ^

We seem to be looking great on the interior for the future. But other than Magnuson (LT)  and Braden (RT) who is going to really step up on the outside.  I could see AJ williams and Fox as possibilities.  But LTT and Bushel Beaty seem really raw.  I just dont see the next Lewan, Long, Schofield 6'6-6'8 monsters in the upcoming classes.  My bet is on Magnuson as the best option if he adds the weight.  Whose your guess on each side?

Monocle Smile

June 13th, 2013 at 3:17 PM ^

LTT was an early enrollee, so despite being raw, he's getting some extra time to develop. AJ Williams has dropped some weight and he's probably going to stick to tight end.

Fox is probably headed for tackle, and if the need arises, Bosch or Kalis could slide outside.

JBB may be considered "raw" by technique, but the guy's already 6-7, 310. We'll be fine; we have guys who can slide around.


June 13th, 2013 at 3:23 PM ^

I think Bosch and Kalis just look the part at guard so well that I'd hate to have to move them outside. They would really fill the hole but I guess with Kugler, Bryant, Bosch, Dawson, and Kalis all inside you put them where they can play when they're that good.  


June 13th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

Ben Braden. He's playing OG now because he's good and the coaches want him on the field. I bet he takes Lewan's spot and holds it for 3 years.

Gun to my head? Here's my pick for 2014 OL:

Braden - Kalis - Miller - Dawson - Bosch

Kugler closely behind Miller, and the two guards could swap. But that's my best guess. Young, but good. Holy shit 2015.


June 13th, 2013 at 3:29 PM ^

Yea really, by 2015 the depth is going to be a luxury few teams can match.  

I'd go Magnuson - Kalis - Kugler - Dawson - Braden. 

That's hoping Kugler is just as good as advertised and forces the coaches hand.  And that we finally hear some hype about Magnuson, but your prediction is probably more likely. 

Space Coyote

June 13th, 2013 at 4:32 PM ^

Magnuson is the most likely at LT right now, because he has the athletic ability. He really needs to add the strength though. LTT will likely be depth at both tackle positions and Braden is headed for RT. My guess:

Magnuson - Bosch - Miller - Kalis - Braden

If Braden goes down, Bosch is likely to move to RT and Dawson would come in. If Magnuson goes down, Braden slides to LT, which is far from his optimal spot. Fox may be able to play on the outside as well. Bars could also step in on the interior. Kugler is your backup center.


June 13th, 2013 at 6:01 PM ^

The Pro Bowl offensive tackles from last season averaged 6'5 1/2". Keep in mind that high school and college heights are often exaggerated by an inch or two. When these guys measure in at the Combine, they'll lose some height. Taylor Lewan, who's listed at 6'8", will probably be 6'7" at the NFL Combine. Somebody who's listed at 6'2" is probably more like 6'1 1/4".

Anyway, I think it's a little rare that somebody as tall as Lewan can be as flexible and athletic as he is. He's a special player.


June 13th, 2013 at 5:55 PM ^

I have not changed my mind.


The thing with Dawson is that people keep talking about his nasty disposition, but I don't see him do it in games consistently. With Taylor Lewan he would block guys through the whistle, off the sideline, etc. That's why I was really high on Lewan coming out of high school (well, along with his size and obvious athleticism). I just don't see that drive to finish plays. Maybe that can be coached out of him, and I hope it can. It's the same type of thing that kept Will Campbell from seeing the field more as an underclassman.

The FannMan

June 13th, 2013 at 3:13 PM ^

My father died suddenly when I was 14.  Obvioulsy, it was incredibly tough.  There is no way that I could have gone through that and something as pressure packed as today's recruiting grinder.  (I am neither big nor athletic so I didn't have to worry about that.)  Of all the possible reactions to this tragedy, Dawson's was to second guess his committment to Michigan football to take a look at getting a full scholarship to Florida.  He then came back to Michigan and (credit to Hoke and Co.) got back into the class.  

I wish that my reactions to my father's passing had only been that wonky.

I am really pulling for David to do great things.


June 13th, 2013 at 3:19 PM ^

The last paragraph is exactly the reason we should be exicted about these recruiting classes.  It almost doesn't matter who ends up playing, the winner of the battle is going to be very good.


June 13th, 2013 at 3:25 PM ^

I like to imagine this line becoming like a massive road plow, smashing it's way through humanity, flinging bodies around because they are in the way.

Perkis-Size Me

June 13th, 2013 at 3:27 PM ^

Sitting here wondering who is going to ultimately win a starting job out of all of these quality guys is a damn good problem to have.

Brady Hoke seems to have a current trend going on in his recruiting on the O-Line. As its been covered ad-nauseum before, but big, mean, nasty, physical, guys. Once they all grow and gel together? Wow, that line is going to be a force to be reckoned with. And that's putting it lightly.


June 13th, 2013 at 3:42 PM ^

For David Dawson should definitely be Damon Denson or Dean Dingman.

But if you're looking for a really good mean-cuss run-oriented guard Joe Cocozzo comes to mind.  (Or if he's too good/not recent enough, Jonathan Goodwin).


June 13th, 2013 at 3:47 PM ^


Either way it' going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight with Kyle Kalis presumably on track to being a four-year starter, Kyle Bosch equally touted and already on campus, Chris Bryant still being huge, Blake Bars existing, and Glasgow being just as large and possibly more experienced than anyone. Oh and Mason Cole is coming in behind this madness with plenty of recruiting credentials to his name.

Son of Lloyd Brady

June 13th, 2013 at 5:16 PM ^

Second to last comment on Sparty schadenfreude thread:


Imagine how much it would suck if the staff had actually wanted him! Oh the huge manatee!

Aaaannnd that's why you are Sparty


June 13th, 2013 at 7:51 PM ^

I used to coach Backs and Receivers for a short spell, but I am no means a seasoned coach or tape watcher.  That said, I did look at Dawson's tapes online and have to say, I could get enough and they are the most impressive I have seen....aggression, dominance, nasty and against very good competition in drills the OL has no business winning.  I love the potential with this kid.  Totally excited about watching him and hope he can find a way to convert the weight of losing a family member into a strength not a burden.  Mean cuss indeed!


June 13th, 2013 at 10:35 PM ^

as usual. Went from "WOW Gonna be a big steal for the BIG GREEN from SCUM" to "Seems like a drama queen" to "Hoke is a Joke!!!111" once Dawson recommits