Josh Dawson: Committed to Vanderbilt but will visit UGA

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UGA hasn’t given up with its recruiting of Josh Dawson, one of Georgia’s top college football prospects.

The 6-foot-4, 227-pound defensive end from Tucker High School made the surprising decision to commit early to Vanderbilt. In June, Dawson picked Vanderbilt over Georgia, Notre Dame and South Carolina, among his 23 early scholarship offers.

It hasn’t discouraged Georgia. Dawson said UGA mailed him a written scholarship offer earlier this month, and that he stays in touch with Bulldogs recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner on a regular basis.

“Right now, I’m committed to Vanderbilt, but I’m still taking offers and listening to what people have to say,” Dawson told the AJC. “I just know my final decision will be in February. That’s when everything matters.”

Dawson said he will likely take only two official visits – to Vanderbilt and UGA. “I might go to Georgia before Vanderbilt, or it may be the other way around. I’m not sure. I’m really focused on helping my high school win a state championship right now, so I will probably wait until after my season to set up those visits.”

Why is Dawson receptive to UGA’s flirtations? “It’s just the home state school. There are a lot of good players from my high school that went to Georgia and did well. I’m just listening to what other people have to say, hearing them out … Right now, I’m still committed to Vanderbilt.”

Tucker DE-LB Josh Dawson (photo courtesy of Tucker HS)

Tucker DE-LB Josh Dawson (photo courtesy of Tucker HS)

Dawson said Garner really hasn’t pressured him during their conversations. “Coach Garner talks about the Boise State game, asks me how I’m doing with my season, and really just is keeping in touch.” Dawson said UGA is recruiting him to play outside linebacker, with the possibility he could move to defensive end if he adds weight.

Dawson will be one of the featured college prospects in WSB-TV’s “Thursday Night Football” at 7 p.m. on digital channel 2.2 and wsbtv.com. His Tucker teammate is linebacker Jacob Sealand, who is also committed to Vanderbilt. Southwest DeKalb is led by wide receiver Shaq Goodwin, who is 6-8 and 240 pounds. Goodwin is ranked as one of the top 10 college basketball prospects in the country. Tight end Arden Key (6-3, 200) will be the first freshman to start for legendary coach Buck Godfrey in 29 years at Southwest DeKalb.

Dawson may have been the best player on the field in the Tucker-Stephenson scrimmage a couple of weeks ago. He had three tackles for losses against Stephenson, which has 11 seniors committed to D1 schools.

Dawson has a 3.6 GPA and plans to study Engineering or Sports Medicine.

RELATED: It’s UGA vs. Stanford for Woodward Academy DT Jordan Watkins, who eliminated Florida on Tuesday (click on story link)

Note: How good is Josh Dawson? You can watch him yourself on WSB-TV “Thursday Night Football” at 7 p.m. Thursday. It’s Tucker vs. SW DeKalb on Channel 2.2, WSB-TV ’s second digital channel. You can also watch games live on wsbtv.com and watch the rebroadcast Friday nights at 1:06 a.m. on Channel 2. It can also be found on the follow cable channels:

  • Comcast 248- Metro Atlanta, Calhoun, Rome
  • Charter 126 – Metro Atlanta, Athens
  • Windstream 871- Dahlonega, Hiawassee, Cornelia, Commerce
  • ETC 190- Ellijay, Cherokee, Pickens, Gilmer & Fannin counties
  • Plantation 601- Green and Putnam Counties; Knology 168- West Point

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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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88 comments Add your comment

AnnapolisDawg

August 24th, 2011
11:09 am

slydog

August 24th, 2011
11:10 am

Not too excited about trying to lure ANY recruit from Vanderbilt. At least, from a football stand point. How about “luring” Jordan Jenkins?

AnnapolisDawg

August 24th, 2011
11:11 am

Come on down to Athens Josh; you won’t regret the decision!!! Best of luck to you whatever you decide but it would be great to see you in the red and black.

Bigdsel

August 24th, 2011
11:12 am

Bigdsel

August 24th, 2011
11:13 am

I’m gonna post then read next time.

AnnapolisDawg

August 24th, 2011
11:16 am

slydog: “Dawson may have been the best player on the field in the Tucker-Stephenson scrimmage a couple of weeks ago. He had three tackles for losses against Stephenson, which has 11 seniors committed to D1 schools.”
This is why we need to keep in touch with him. He is going to be a good one and we don’t have to worry about his ability to learn the playbook or qualify academically (3.6 gpa).

AnnapolisDawg

August 24th, 2011
11:18 am

Don’t hate Bigdsel, I just happened to get lucky. I did however read the article and as you can see, it’s not that lengthy. Go DAWGS!!!!

jim

August 24th, 2011
11:21 am

slydog – if he had verbaled to USC or ND, would you feel better about luring him? that’s an idiotic comment on your part.

Pete

August 24th, 2011
11:21 am

Notice how he talks about the Boise State game……..?

He’s trying to lure him with the Big-time teams they play against. hint*

bucket

August 24th, 2011
11:23 am

The Vanderbilt coaches need to be commended for not writing Georgia off and aggressively pursuing recruits in this state. I do think, however, if UGA proves this year that they are back on track it will be hard for Dawson to pass up a chance to play with a resurgent Dawg defense.

collegeballfan

August 24th, 2011
11:37 am

“Dawson has a 3.6 GPA and plans to study Engineering or Sports Medicine.”

Then why would he go to UGA?

Vandy has strong engineering and medical school and a strong pre-med program. Plus they are a member of the AAU. Their degree is just more valuable.

Curious.

Remarkable

August 24th, 2011
11:38 am

It just depends upon whether he has a plan to get a degree or to go pro. Few players go pro from Vanderbilt.

JT

August 24th, 2011
11:41 am

As much as I’d like to see him in Athens, I’d prefer to see him stick with his “commitment” (is that word completely losing it’s meaning, or what). Plus hard to go wrong holding a degree from Vanderbilt.

Michael Carvell

August 24th, 2011
11:45 am

@slydog, thanks for your post. Vanderbilt is off to a hot start with its 2012 recruiting class, which has several kids that were recruited by just about everybody. Will they be able to hold on to them all until February? That’s what everybody is waiting to see. New Vanderbilt coach James Franklin has created a lot of early excitement. As far as Jordan Jenkins, Alabama appears to be the school to beat, with Florida also in his top two. Jordan said UGA and Auburn are battling it out for No. 3 with him.

HardTruth Soldier

August 24th, 2011
11:47 am

Persistence+Teammates In Athens =Bulldawg for February.

Paul in NH (formerly RDU)

August 24th, 2011
11:48 am

If you are good enough, it doesn’t matter where you go to college – the NFL will find you. Going to Vandy didn’t stop Jay Cutler from being drafted #11 and becoming a starting QB in the NFL

BG

August 24th, 2011
11:53 am

I hope he picks the DAWGS! Stay instate Josh and help the DAWGS!

GA Sandlapper

August 24th, 2011
12:03 pm

Stay instate! Go to UGA where you can play 4 years for Kirby Smart!!

twest

August 24th, 2011
12:09 pm

About Stephenson’s 11 D1 recruits, that is as much marketing as it is Talent. They are good squad but not great.

techfan

August 24th, 2011
12:17 pm

Right now, I’m committed to Vanderbilt, but I’m still taking offers and listening to what people have to say

Then you aren’t committed at all. College football needs a new word for what they call commitment. Maybe just saying a player is leaning one direction would be more accurate.

Tdawg

August 24th, 2011
12:21 pm

Paul in NH. Sir you are 100% correct. If you are good enough, the pros will find you. Having said that, I would hope that the kid would take his time and decide on a school in which he would feel most content.

RRTDawgs

August 24th, 2011
12:23 pm

If we are going after Dawson still then we must out of Jordan Jenkins sweepstakes .

VA DAWG

August 24th, 2011
12:57 pm

He can’t go worng with either school, but it’s hard to argue against the quality of education you get from Vanderbilt. UGA plays second fiddle to very few schools when it comes to education, hence the reason we are consistently in top 50 public schools in the country. Wish Mr. Dawson luck in his decision, but it sounds like he will have a successful future no matter which school he chooses to attend. By the way, we are not out of it with Mr. Jenkins. GO DAWGS!

Recruiting

August 24th, 2011
1:02 pm

No way we lose out to Vandy to if we really want him. Sure they have better academics but game day atmosphere and winning games will eventually be more influential than academics.

ATLsportsfan

August 24th, 2011
1:06 pm

Sticking with Vanderbilt makes so much more sense. They have a lot of players in the NFL (Cutler, Bennett, Chris Williams, Goff, DJ Moore,Myron Lewis, Javon Haye to name a few), but they can also set this young man up for success in life in a way that UGA or any of the other SEC schools simply can’t. He can become a successful engineer after football or a doctor or whatever he wants with a Vanderbilt degree. If he is good enough, he will make it to the League no matter where he goes, but it’s nearly impossible to replace the education he will get and the doors it will open if he heads to Nashville. I’d hate to see him leave the state, but Vanderbilt makes a lot of sense, and I think Vanderbilt is clearly a program on the rise (it’s already started in their basketball and baseball programs).

dap01

August 24th, 2011
1:19 pm

Congratulation Josh. You will be great with either choice. Vandy is a great school and UGA is a great school with an amazing athletic program. Go Dawgs!

RedandBlackDAWG

August 24th, 2011
1:19 pm

commitment used to mean something when I was growing up. If this kid is committed, why is he still listening to what others want to talk to him and still accepting offers. It sounds like to me, what he is really saying, as “I know at least I can go to college now, but if you have a sweeter deal for me, I can be persuaded”. How confident does that make the coach at Vanderbilt feel, do you think? Should he count on this kid or keep recruiting for that position that he hopes this kid will fill. This is the one point with which I can agree with the Tech. coach on. If you mean committed, then do it. Don’t play games. Is it any wonder that coaches get accused of over recruiting when you have kids literally playing you. Be firm in your decision young man, and quit playing with a coach. Commit or at least say, you are unsure. A man is only as good as his word.

Russ the spotted bulldog

August 24th, 2011
1:25 pm

Garner pretends to be nice with Coach is around, but he has played some dirty tricks on me, like throwing a tennis ball into traffic on Lumpkin. Be careful around him.

JD

August 24th, 2011
1:33 pm

Why commit if you are still taking offers? What exactly does commitment mean to these kids?

Michael Carvell

August 24th, 2011
1:35 pm

@RedandBlackDAWG, thanks for your comment. As far as a “sweeter deal” for Josh Dawson, he already had the UGA offer + 22 others when he committed to Vanderbilt in June.

As far as “commitment used to mean something when I was growing up” etc., those days are long gone. In fact, nowadays, you’re only considered a legitimate D1 recruit if — after you’ve committed — other colleges continue to recruit you all the way until signing day. Remember when Dillon Lee committed to Alabama last spring? When Dillon called the other schools to let them know, all of them basically said “Congrats on Alabama. We’re still going to recruit you and we’ll be in touch soon.” Maybe the college coaches should agree to not recruit each other’s commitments? No chance of that happening. If this issue really bothered college coaches, then they would go to the NCAA and create an early signing period. Bottom line: There is nothing unusual about Josh Dawson being committed to Vanderbilt and being pursued by other schools, and the same goes for kids committed to UGA and still being recruited by other schools. Do you think Florida has given up on OT John Theus? What about all the recent written offers for LB-DE James DeLoach? That’s just recruiting.

#1BamaFan

August 24th, 2011
1:44 pm

Michael…the word ‘commitment’ still means the same it is just being interpeted different. That is why it is not harsh for a coach to recruit, receive a commitment and then tell the kid “if you shop, I might shop”. It seems fair as long as all of the schools are doing it. RTR

Destin Dawg

August 24th, 2011
1:56 pm

Parade magazine says ” UGA #2 large State University education, plus big time sports ” in a great college town Athens, Ga… kids that stay in State… close to support groups… friends and family… generally do better in school and life after football… Go Dawgs !!!

RedandBlackDAWG

August 24th, 2011
1:58 pm

Michael,

All the kid has to do is say, “No thanks and I would appreciate if you would not contact me again”. A legitimate recruiter would not call back. But if the kid is I guess what is called a soft committment, then he is really not committed at all. How is a coach suppose to prepare for the future if the kids word means nothing? If this is the way things are now, then perhaps, we need to have some old school values taught in school.

Michael Carvell

August 24th, 2011
2:00 pm

@RedandBlackDAWG, I like your thinking but is it unrealistic. A “legitimate recruiter” would risked getting fired if he gives up on a elite recruit too soon. This whole situation has more to do with the college coaches than the kids. They put pressure on the kids to commit early, saying things like “We’ve offered 5 DBs but we’re only going to take 2, and 1 has already committed. We want you take that last spot before another guy takes it. What do you think about getting it over with?” It puts enormous pressure on the kids to commit early. It’s a smart tactic by the colleges because they know if a kid commits early, there is about an 80-percent chance he will stick with it.

Stephenson coach Ron Gartrell had some interesting things to say about it:

My thing is that I’m against early commitments and that kind of thing because you have kids committing at 16 years old — and they don’t even have driver’s licenses yet. We’ve got all these guys committed early, and I’m against it unless the NCAA creates an early signing period, because what is happening is that colleges are putting a lot of pressure on these kids to commit early. Now I don’t know if Georgia is doing that, and that might be why they are not getting as many kids as they probably should. Georgia does a great job of evaluating guys and when they make an offer, it’s a serious offer. They stand by it.

“You’ve got some other people making offers and after they make an offer, they will come back and say to a linebacker, ‘OK, we’ve offered you but we’ve offered four total. We’re only going to take two, and one of them has already committed to us. So if you really want to come to our place, you’ve got to commit before this other guy.’ It’s a game that colleges play with these kids that I’m not a fan of. Recruiters know I don’t like them playing those kinds of games with my kids. When you offer them, you need to let them know up front if you have someone else in mind. Recruiting is what it is. It makes or breaks colleges coaches, lots of them moving around [to different jobs] … so who knows?”

tide roll

August 24th, 2011
2:17 pm

Why doesn’t Garner try to turn Brandon Greene, OT and BAMA commit, Joe Harris,OG and S. Carolina commit, and Vadal Alexander, OT and anywhere but Georgia commit. Ya’ll are absolutely certifiable to let these guys go.You know that don’t you? Does Uga you really and truly want to win big? You have to wonder. This is why you have 1 national title in your history, and that was over 30 years ago!! It’s because you continue to pass on athletic in-state offensive lineman like those mentioned above. That’s what’s doing you in. Yet year after year you make the same incredible oversights. Like Moths to a flame. The same thing, same results, over and over again. Roll tide.

Destin Dawg

August 24th, 2011
2:23 pm

tide you lost 3 last year… and probably lose at least 3 this year… Saban will move on. .its in his DNA…

Destin Dawg

August 24th, 2011
2:26 pm

Josh… play for Grantham… he’s from the league… coaches LB’s

Todd "I'm chokin on a chicken bone" Grantham

August 24th, 2011
2:40 pm

Josh, Grantham is from the league alright, the bush league. See for yourself what a terrific job he did last year against the worst Florida offense in 50 years. Not to mention is failed and classless attempt to influence the fg in OT. A real class act, lol.

The Ghost of Bear

August 24th, 2011
2:42 pm

3 losses ain’t 7 losses son!
2009 NC
2008 Black out
Were a National Power for 50 years and uga is a joke.
Let me guess one time in 1976, before your pa was born…………..

harold

August 24th, 2011
2:44 pm

AT VANDY HE STARTS. A BETTER EDUCATION. A MUCH BETTER TOWN. THE HEAD COACH WILL LIKELY BE THERE ( RICHT WILL SOON BE FIRED). HE CHOOSES AN EDUCATION AT THE SEC TOP SCHOOL AND A GREAT TOWN.

HE WILL BE A HERO AT VANDY—-A ROCK STAR. HE WILL NOT AT GEORGIA!

bawbie

August 24th, 2011
2:53 pm

Fire Garner!

NoNameDefense

August 24th, 2011
3:02 pm

Stick with Vandy son. Better education, strong alumni base. You can’t play football forever. Vandy will better prepare you for life after football.

Duke Grad

August 24th, 2011
3:08 pm

Go for the education you can get at Vandy, it’ll be well respected nationally and there will be no chance you’ll be banned from TV or bowl games at Vandy.

SEC sage

August 24th, 2011
3:09 pm

Georgia should try to turn Dawson and pickup Jenkins too. Bama is on the downslide, preseason #1 and finished 4th in division and second in their state last year.They got out recruited instate last year by Auburn and again so far this year. Bama has 8 3 stars and Auburn 8 four stars so far. Auburn has won 7 of last 9 against Bama and Georgia has won 3 of last 4 against Bama. Party’s over Saban to NFL like Pete Carroll when it went downhill.

RRTDawgs

August 24th, 2011
3:14 pm

Its amazing some haters telling him to stay at Vandy because he is keeping his options open its his choice if wants stay with Vandy that is fine but if having second thoughts and wants stay closer to home that fine to haters keep on hating Tech fans can’t stand it i love it .

Wes. W. Moore

August 24th, 2011
3:18 pm

Michael, the “hot start” for Vandy will soon cool when the whippings begin. Elon is fully capable of beating the ‘dores. Then we’ll see how committed these kids really claim.

srschirm

August 24th, 2011
3:21 pm

My question is, if he’s interested in engineering, why the heck isn’t Tech recruiting this kid?

Alphare

August 24th, 2011
3:40 pm

This young knows making a living in NFL is like wasting your money on lottery.

Everybody with diver’s license can enter UGA. A Vandy degree is like winning the lottery for your lifetime.

the truth

August 24th, 2011
3:40 pm

Elon is not close to capable of beating Vanderbilt. Regardless, their “hot start” has already “cooled” because they have 15 commitments, but only 9 seniors on the roster. The numbers will work themselves out, but they only have 4-5 spots left.

Gcock

August 24th, 2011
3:41 pm

CMR, up the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$