Dawson's Return

NASHVILLE - It was an indifferent afternoon for Josh Dawson.

The Georgia defensive end played his first career game in Vanderbilt Stadium. And while that might not sound like a milestone for many, Saturday's game meant a little more for the sophomore from Tucker (Ga.).

It is, after all, where he intended to spend most fall Saturdays. Dawson was a Commodore commit right up until Signing Day when he donned black but swapped the gold for red.

He initially committed to Vanderbilt coach James Franklin in June of 2011, just before the start of his senior season –over a full year before he'd set foot on its Nashville campus.

He appreciated that Vanderbilt had offered before any other (October 2010), and weighed its academics heavily.

Dawson was comfortable with his decision and satisfied he made it before his senior year. He said doing so minimized distraction during what culminated into Tucker's first ever undefeated season and second state championship in four years.

His play during the Tigers' 2011 campaign caught the eye of many, including Georgia, who brought Dawson to campus three times in the span of a month.

Dawson was attracted by Georgia's academics, football tradition, proximity to home and above all, how he'd fit into defensive coordinator Todd Grantham's scheme.

"I liked how they would use me," Dawson said after a visit in January. "I would move around a lot, play with my hand up, my hand down and drop into coverage some. They just want to get me in the right position to make plays."

It all came down to Signing Day. Tucker hosted a ceremony featuring Dawson and teammate Jacob Sealand, with many thinking the pair would commit to Vanderbilt together. But just after Sealand signed with the Commodores, Dawson donned a hat with the iconic G.

Dawson said he has no regrets about his decision. He's played in 19 games to this point, including Saturday's loss to Vanderbilt.

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