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'This is my home'

With four simple words, star defensive recruit Curtis Dawson was able to explain his recent commitment to sign with The University of Alabama. <br><br>"This is my home," Dawson told <i></i> in an interview Sunday.

Rated among the top recruits in the state this season, Curtis Dawson (6-1, 255, 4.75) was a man among boys, patrolling the middle of the Hoover High School defense. Terrorizing opponents from his middle linebacker position, Dawson helped lead his squad to its second straight state championship.

In order not to distract his teammates from their goal, Dawson had kept recruiting on the back burner during the season. But his ultimate destination was never really in doubt.

"I have known all along," Dawson admitted.

Dawson talks to his teammates on the sidelines during a game.

Several major southern teams are listed next to Dawson's name as having recruited him, including Auburn, Ole Miss, Clemson and Tennessee. But Dawson said Sunday that LSU came in second place to the Tide.

But from his point of view, it really wasn't a contest.

"Alabama football is big time," Dawson said. "There was nowhere else I was going to go."

Dawson played all season at middle linebacker, and that's where he expects to begin his collegiate career. However, most recruiting pundits predict he'll eventually end up with his hand in the dirt, manning the middle of Alabama's defensive line at tackle. Dawson sports excellent strength numbers with a 385-pound bench press, 550 squat, and 325 power clean.

Dawson acknowledges that he understands that if he keeps growing he'll need to make the move to tackle, but he hopes to play linebacker if possible. Either way, Bama's coaches believe they've snagged a winner.

"Coach Mike Shula and ‘Coach Cheese' (Charlie Harbison) came to visit me last week," Dawson related. "But they really did not have to say much to convince me.

"They knew I was coming to Alabama."

So that being the case, what did Dawson and the Bama coaches talk about during his in-home visit?

Dawson was a dominant defender this season for Hoover.

"We talked about the recruiting class this year and how good it was going to be," Dawson replied. "We believe we will be able to win the National Championship in the near future."

Of course this is Shula's first chance to assemble a recruiting class as a collegiate head coach. Like Bama's other recruits, the Hoover High School star was impressed.

Dawson commented, "Coach Shula is a very genuine guy. He's great to be around. He loves Alabama football. He has been around football all his life, and he knows what he is doing."

Middle linebacker/Defensive lineman Curtis Dawson is the 13th prospect to commit to Alabama as part of the 2004 recruiting class. He must finish his senior year successfully in the classroom, but Dawson is projected to qualify.

Other Tide commitments include

RECRUITING NOTES: Alabama is allowed to bring in 19 new scholarshipped players this fall. The Tide is expected to sign as many as 22 players in February, anticipating that several will not become qualified. It's also possible that one or more players may be asked to delay entry into The University until the following January, counting against 2005 scholarship numbers, depending on how qualifying issues play out.

Read all of the recent recruiting stories on Alabama recruits from

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