After a strong 2011 campaign, Dawkins says he's looking to best his performance from last year. But rather than get ahead of himself, he never looks past Friday.
"I'm taking the season one game at a time," he said. "Right now our focus is on Montgomery. Last week was a great win but it's over. It did seem a little different starting earlier, but we played a scrimmage game the week before Brentwood, so we were ready."
And Dawkins is an integral part of the Shamrocks' offense. Trinity is loaded with playmakers such as James Quick at receiver and Travis Wright at quarterback, and with such a balance of talent, it makes it difficult for an opposing team to focus on just one player.
"Basically, I see myself as a game changer and a big playmaker," said Dawkins. "I get the offense and the whole team a lot of momentum. It's the same thing for me that it is for James Quick. If you focus on one of us, the other one frees up, so we both help each other out."
Dawkins was already a dynamic player last season, but hard work and dedication to improvement in the offseason allowed him to take his game to another level and add some new skills to his game.
"I've gotten a little faster. I've gotten bigger and stronger," he said. "I think I can catch better too. I think I'll be catching a lot more passes out of the backfield this year."
Dawkins' productivity last year was something many running backs would kill for, but Dawkins was so close to his goal that it drove him even more to perform.
"I want to reach 2000 yards or more this year," Dawkins said. "Last year I was 80 yards shy of that and that really bothered me. 1900 yards is still a lot and I knew that was good, but I wanted to get 2k."
It's incredible that Dawkins could amass the stats that he did with such a big target on his team's back. Trinity was the top team in the country last year, too, and teams will be gunning for them this year as well.
"That's good in some ways," Dawkins said about all the attention, "but we really try not to focus on that. When you focus on that you let that get to your head and you don't play as well. You can slip up."
And having all of that talent on the team is a blessing and comes with plenty of benefits. Every day in practice, Dawkins gets to go up against some of the best.
"We do push each other a lot. That makes our practices very competitive," said Dawkins. "We compete every day and help each other get better. Even the people who aren't getting Division 1 scholarships are just as important and do a great job as well."
While much of Dawkins' attention is on his team, he has narrowed his list of schools down to a set of four.
He explained what he likes in each school.
Well, I love Cincinnati because when I went to visit I met the coaching staff and they showed me that they really wanted me," Dawkins said of the Bearcats. "I liked the campus and it's not too far from home. Overall I felt like they would be a nice fit for me."
"I went up there one time for a junior day with Ryan White (Louisville commitment). I liked Illinois," he said. "I wish I could have spent more time up there because I'm trying to learn more about them. I want to get to know more about them."
"The coach there came from Alabama and my dad is friends with him," he said. "I haven't visited out there yet but I definitely plan to. I've talked to their running back coach and the head coach. I like what they're saying so far."
"With Purdue, that's another school I need to get more information on. I do know that Coach Hope and Coach Nord, the offensive coordinator, coached at Louisville when my dad played there," he said. "So that's one of the reasons I'm considering them. And Purdue is a good school."
Fit will play an important role in Dawkins' decision when the time comes.
"I'm looking for a good education, and I look at how good the coaches are and what the best fit will be for me," said Dawkins. "I want to see how I fit into their offensive system. Early playing time is another thing I'm looking at and getting an early opportunity."
Not wanting to let recruiting become a distraction, Dawkins will slow his recruitment down quite a bit during the high school season so he can focus on defending the Kentucky State Title.
"I'll definitely be taking the visits after the season," he said. "I don't want it to interfere with our season at Trinity. Either I'll wait until signing day or pretty close. I'm still weighing my options."