Dawson on Navy: "I couldn't go wrong"

Eli Dawson

Eli Dawson of Western Reserve Academy (Hudson, Ohio) had a tough decision to make between Army, Furman, and Navy. In the end, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end liked what he saw in Annapolis the most and decided to play for the Midshipmen. GoMids.com spoke with Dawson of his decision to attend the Naval Academy.

Eli Dawson of Western Reserve Academy (Hudson, Ohio) had a tough decision to make between Army, Furman, and Navy. In the end, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end liked what he saw in Annapolis the most and decided to play for the Midshipmen. GoMids.com spoke with Dawson of his decision to attend the Naval Academy.

"It was a tough thing to decide," said Dawson. "I couldn't go wrong between Furman, West Point, and Navy. My brother and I discussed it at great length and just loved the environmental at Navy. Even for a military school, there's a different feel there. The team is like a family not working towards individual goals but as one. The mentality is not one of your own but thinking more for the man playing right next to you. I also loved the coaches. Not to sound cliché but they're a tight-knit group.

"I was intrigued by the military aspect of the program. I had a grandfather who went to West Point and my other one served. At first I was a little scared of the idea, but the more I learned about it the more open I became. I'm excited about become an officer and proud to serve for five years after college."

Dawson moved to Columbus and decided to repeat his junior year of high school after an injury to bolster his college status, because transfer rules only left him with a senior season remaining. He then decided to go to Western Reserve Academy, a coeducational boarding school for his senior season.

"During the season I talked with Coach Judge," he said. "I took an unofficial visit for the Texas State game and then my official visit on January 22nd.

"When they offered me, they said they liked my highlight tape. They thought I'd be able to handle adversity both on and off the field. The liked my aggressiveness on both sides of the ball. I played wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, linebacker, and running back. At defensive end, they really liked my quickness off the line and my length. I have a good reach out and can really clamp down on my opponent."

Although the Pioneers only earned two wins on the 2012 season, Dawson said they "took them with pride" for being such a small school. He made 75 tackles, six sacks, and made 22 receptions for 210 yards.

On signing day, Dawson's brother came yo to the academy and brought him a Navy hat to go with his green blazer, tie, and khakis. He called it a "magnificent, full day". Dawson will spend his first year at NAPS.

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