At 6-1 255 lbs with a reported best time of 4.8 in the 40, many have questioned whether Curtis Dawson has the speed to project as a linebacker at the next level. After watching Dawson's Bucs dismantle Lee of Montgomery 24-14 last week, count me in as one of his supporters.
While some think that Dawson will grow into a defensive line position, his performance in the season opener suggests he could easily begin his college career at linebacker. "He prefers inside linebacker due to the impact collisions that happen on a frequent basis," Hoover High School coach Rush Propst told BamaMag.com in an earlier interview. "But Curtis is talented enough that he has played outside (linebacker) and at defensive end. He puts incredible pressure on the quarterback."
Like many great athletes, Curtis moves with a stride that seems effortless. He has really nice range, moving sideline to sideline as quickly as he rushes forward. Dawson covers large chunks of ground though it may appear he's not moving that fast.
He also has smooth back-pedaling skills that allow him to be effective dropping into pass coverage.
When Dawson hits, the opponent feels it. And the fans hear it. Several nasty sticks during the game were greeted with resounding oooh's and whoops from the Hoover and Lee fans alike. There is no doubt that he has the strength to excel as a college defender. He brings every bit of his accurately listed 6-1 255-pound frame to the collision.
"I'm a physical player who loves contact," Curtis Dawson told BamaMag.com in an interview published earlier. "I want to destroy everything I touch and I love to play against running teams."
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of Dawson's game is his ability to read and react to what the offense is doing. Several times he showed an uncanny ability to sniff out and snuff out the delay and draw plays in otherwise obvious passing situations.
Dawson also displayed a knack for making the big play to quiet the opponent's momentum.
When the game's outcome was still in question, Lee had a first down at the Hoover 36. Dawson called the defensive formation, inched forward as he timed the snap, and then bolted through the line stopping the ball carrier for a 5-yard loss.
He has a great feel for the game. Like plus-size NFL Pro Bowl linebackers Bryan Cox and Levan Kirkland have proven, scales and stopwatches don't make football plays. Football players do. Curtis Dawson is a football player.
There would be room for more such compliments had Dawson played the entire game. His team's (and his) dominance was such that neither he nor his talented teammate Jeramie Holifield played more than a handful of snaps beyond halftime.
Dawson has amazing strength numbers with a 385-pound bench press, 550 squat and 325 power clean.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Besides being a law student "on the side," Brett Pouncey is an avid sports fan who is involved with broadcasting high school football in the Tuscaloosa area. As he's able to attend various games this fall, he'll provide scouting reports on players of interest to BamaMag.com readers.
Check back for other scouting profiles Pouncey filed from the game, including quarterback John Parker Wilson.
Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from TheInsiders.com.