Jacksonville Linebacker Making His Rounds

Teams searching for a player who has thrived both on and off the football field need to look no further than Bernard Dawson of Andrew Jackson high school in Jacksonville, Florida.

Dawson is a 5'10", 188-pound linebacker who logged 15 sacks for the Tigers last season and has been heavily recruited by UCF, as well as USF and Arkansas. The Razorbacks recently extended a scholarship offer to Dawson, and the Knights and Bulls are expected to follow suit.

Dawson, who also runs track for the Tigers, has become a desired commodity because of the sheer effort and desire he displays on a weekly basis. Last season, Dawson had to fill in at defensive end for Andrew Jackson H.S, and although he was somewhat undersized for the position, he still managed to consistently wreak havoc in the backfield of opponents.

"In Pop Warner, I was smaller than a lot of kids," said Dawson, whose father coached him until he reached high school. "My dad taught me to use my technique and speed to my advantage." Dawson certainly has enough speed, as high school coaches clocked him at a 4.5 second 40-yard dash. He can also bench press up to 315 pounds.

Dawson's willingness to play out of position his junior year speaks volume about his character and drive to put his team first. "Whatever the team needs to be successful I'm willing to do."

Notable schools such as the Knights and Razorbacks have taken an interest to Dawson not only because of his on field success, but because of his excellent work inside of the classroom. "I currently have a 3.2 GPA and scored a 15 on my ACT earlier this year," added Dawson, who is now eligible to play college ball because of his test score. "I'm concerned with more than just football and would like to improve my ACT score to 21.

Aside from smarts and skill, Dawson also has the insight to prioritize his college choices by factors other than football. "I'm really looking for a school that has a high graduation rate for student athletes. Also, I will be looking for a school that will stay with me even if I get hurt and will keep my scholarship in tack."

UCF is a major contender in the race for Dawson's services because of its stellar campus lifestyle and academic standings. "UCF is a place where I can take care of business [in school] but have fun afterwards."

Arkansas seems to be a front runner for Dawson now because they have offered him a scholarship and he admires that dedication, but he still plans on making the rounds and visiting UCF and USF.

While the prospect of playing in college is rapidly approaching for Dawson, he is still very concerned with his football team and is trying his best to help produce a winning mentality for his teammates. "I try to be a leader in class and on the field, especially for the underclassmen. Teamwork is all about everyone contributing and if we do that, it will pay off when the season starts." For Dawson, this attitude has already gotten him a long way and the Knights would benefit from his constant pursuit of perfection both athletically and academically.

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