Dawson's Dilemma

Illinois commit Reon Dawson remains committed, but his recruitment isn't over yet. We caught up with Dawson to get the latest.

Reon Dawson and his fellow seniors at Trotwood-Madison High School near Dayton, Ohio didn't get off to the start they wanted in their season, but they stuck with it and together they rallied to a great season, falling just short in the state final game.

"Our season was rocky at first and we went 1-2," he said. "After that we all got focused and got back to our main goal of winning state. We worked hard and made it to state but didn't perform well enough to win it. At state we played well, but we just couldn't get our running game going. Our D gave up a couple early scores but it was too much."

Dawson, who has only been playing organized football for a couple years, spent a lot of time focusing on fundamentals in the offseason and throughout his senior year, he noticed a big difference in his game at his corner position.

"My main goal my senior season was to tackle better," he said. "I didn't tackle that well last year, but my main goal was to do that and my senior film shows that I did that. My coverage skills got better too. It got a lot more natural. In my first year I had a real learning curve, but my second year I relaxed and just started playing. I like taking taller receivers. I don't mind who I face, but I like checking the taller guys."

Trotwood-Madison is laden with talent. Dawson joins Ohio State-bound corner Cameron Burrows, Michigan-bound linebacker Mike McCray, and Illinois-bound defensive lineman Jarrod Clements as future Big Ten players. The success of the team, however, Dawson also credits to the guys who came before.

'First off, it's a blessing," Dawson said. "The upperclassmen before us really put in a lot of work, and we were the next in line. Some seniors when we were freshmen told us to always keep our grades in order. We always kept that goal in mind and it paid off. Cameron (Burrows) and I talk about that all the time."

Dawson created some buzz recently when he took a visit and subsequently received an offer from Michigan. According to Dawson, it all came to him and all happened pretty quickly.

"My visit to Michigan was just a little visit with Mike (McCray)," he said. "I spent the night at his house and we just kind of went. I didn't even think they were recruiting me until I got up there and all that. They just recently gave me an offer."

However, at this time, Dawson remains committed to Illinois, and a couple weeks ago, he took his official visit to Illinois.

"It was a really good visit. I'm glad I went," he said. "V'Angelo Bentley hosted me. We looked at the dorms and hung out. I wanted to get a player's perspective of college and all the classes and what a typical day would be. Then I met a couple of the other players and recruits. It was a good experience."

While Dawson remains committed to Illinois, his recruitment isn't a closed book. A visit to Michigan is marked on the calendar in a couple weeks, and following the visit, Dawson will weigh his options and make the call.

"I will be taking an official to Michigan on January 11th, but I'm still fully committed to Illinois," Dawson said. "I'll have a better idea after that visit. I may make the final call on signing day. I'll sit down with my family and talk to them about it. Ultimately, it will be my choice since I need to be there the next 4 years."

Of course, having teammates committed to both Illinois and Michigan, Dawson gets the runaround on a regular basis.

"Those guys talk to me every day about it," he said. "I see them both walking down the hallway and they both say the same thing. I sit next to Mike in AP English and he talks to me about it all the time and I have pre-calc with Chunky (Jarrod Clements) about it every day too. They really do respect that it's my decision, but they stay in my ear about it."

When it comes to Dawson's final decision, he hasn't set an official date, but one should come closer to signing day.

"If I decide before signing day, I'll just let people know. If not, I'll make it known on signing day," he said.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories