Joshua Dawson: Georgia
With all the hoopla surrounding his decision on where he would play college football next season, Georgia or Vanderbilt, Tucker’s Joshua Dawson relied on two of the three things that have been a constant in his life: his faith and his family.
“It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” Dawson said Wednesday morning, minutes after deciding to flip his longtime commitment from Vanderbilt to the Bulldogs. “Both are great schools. Both recruited me hard.
“I’ve been asking God and waiting on him to tell me where to go,” said the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder, sporting a crisp new Georgia baseball cap. “As soon as He gave me the answer, I told my family and they left it up to me.”
Not even Dawson’s coach, Franklin Stephens, the third constant in his life, knew for sure until he laid Dawson’s letter-of-intent from Georgia on the table in the Tucker auditorium, shortly before the signing ceremony at the school.
Eight other Lions signed scholarships, including linebacker Jacob Sealand, who would have been Dawson’s teammate, had he remained committed to the Commodores.
“I didn’t know until I got a peek at it when I laid it on the table,” said Stephens, who in his fifth season at Tucker led the Tigers to a 15-0 record and the school’s second state title in four seasons. “Georgia is getting a great character kid in Josh, as well as a great football player.”
Stephens said he saw this day coming for Dawson when he was a freshman. “I told him that if he did what we told him to do and work hard, he could be putting his hand in the dirt in the SEC,” Stephens said.
Dawson, who said he will play outside linebacker in the Bulldogs’ 3-4 scheme, said he trusted his coach that day and never questioned him, even through the tough times.
“Man, those 6 a.m. workouts are hard,” Dawson said. “But I trust Coach Stephens and believe in him. [His senior class] finished with two state championships and the best [four-year] record (51-5) the school has ever had. Everything he said has paid off.”
- S. Thomas Coleman