Georgia conducted its first successful flip of the recruiting period on Monday as Sheldon Dawson announced his intention to sign with the Bulldogs on Wednesday.
“I have committed to Georgia,” Dawson, a 5-foot-11, 178-pound athlete from Ridgeway High School in Memphis, Tenn, said Monday night. “I did it about an hour ago.”
Dawson had been committed to play for his hometown team, the University of Memphis, since July of last summer. But he re-opened his recruitment after the school fired head coach Larry Porter. He chose UGA over Ole Miss and he also considered Arkansas and Cincinnati.
“It just felt like a better fit for me,” Dawson said. “It was like a do over for me, a place to start over. I started from scratch and that’s the place I wanted to go.”
Dawson becomes commitment No. 17 for the Bulldogs. Georgia hopes to secure at least five recruits more during the national signing period, which begins Wednesday. Several of those targets are currently committed to other schools, including Cedar Grove offensive lineman Brandon Greene (Alabama), Sandy Creek wide receiver JaQuay Williams (Auburn) and Tucker defensive end Josh Dawson (Vanderbilt). They’re also awaiting word from outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons of Valdosta, offensive lineman Avery Young of Palm Beach Gardens and wide receiver Codarrelle Patterson of Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.
Georgia was one of the first teams in after Porter’s dismissal and Dawson took an official visit to Athens in December. The Bulldogs have pretty much led ever since, despite a late push by Ole Miss and new coach Hugh Freeze.
Dawson’s original commitment to Memphis was considered a major coup for the Tigers. He is the consensus No. 1 prospect in Tennessee. 247Sports.com gives him a four-star rating and considers him the No. 8 cornerback in America while Scout.com also has him has as a four-star and considers him No. 11 in the nation at the position. Rivals.com and ESPN both rate him with three stars. Dawson had well over 20 offers and almost all were from BCS schools such as Ohio State, Tennessee, Louisville, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and the like.
Georgia’s biggest selling point for Dawson is the opportunity to play both ways. He’s expected to play cornerback or safety for the Bulldogs but has been told he’ll be given the opportunity to return kicks and may also get some snaps on offense. Dawson reportedly has 4.4-second, 40-yard speed and is an almost identical physical match to the recently-departed Brandon Boykin, who won the Hornung Award playing two ways for the Bulldogs.
“Everybody on the team said I remind them of Brandon Boykin,” Dawson said.
“You’ve already seen how they would use him,” Ridgeway coach Duron Sutton said. “You’ve seen the way they use that Boykin kid on offense and defense. I think they feel like he would be a perfect fit for that role.”
Dawson is scheduled to make his formal announcement at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday with teammates at his school.
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