Dawkins Short in Stature, Not Talent

Ma'Quan Dawkins is a 5-9, 153-pound (measurements are generous) cornerback from Bridgeton, N.J. He moved into the No. 2 spot at right CB this summer behind Antwan Allen after walking on last season. He is now on scholarship and talking about what it took to get the ride.

How did you end up at Iowa?

MD: During my senior year, I got accepted to Iowa. My coach talked with (Iowa linebackers coach Darrell Wilson). Coach Wilson told me that it would be a great opportunity and that all of the coaches wanted me to come out. So, I came out and made the best of my opportunity. I did good in the spring. And in this summer camp, the coaches told me that I was the surprise of camp and that I did an excellent job.

Was it hard to be a walk-on last year?

MD: It was tough, a little bit. At first I thought that nobody liked me. Maybe not so much, maybe it was more that I didn't know what was going on. I had to learn. As I started to learn, I became better at technique and learning the defense. And now, I'm on scholarship. My mom likes that.

Did you know if you played well, you had a chance at the scholarship?

MD: That was part of my motivation. But I don't really care. I just like playing football. I'm a humble guy. Whatever it takes to play football, I'll do it.

What has moved you up to No. 2 on the depth chart?

MD: I give a lot of effort and I stay humble. I'm never satisfied with my position. I work hard, and I rarely make mistakes. I do a good job at my position.

What are your best attributes?

MD: I'm quick and fast. I don't want to talk about what I run the 40 in, but I'm quick. I break on the ball faster than most people. Jovon Johnson and Antwan Allen showed me everything. They showed me what it takes. I just took it and went with it. All of the DBs are the same size, so we all kind of play the same.

You guys are a little bit undersized. How do you make up for that?

MD: That can be an advantage for us. Most of the tall corners can't move well and turn their hips. They can't break out of the press that fast. When the wide receivers cut on us, we can get around much faster. And they won't expect us to come up hitting. Most tall corners are all hitters. When we come up and hit them, that will be a surprise to them.

Are you working on special teams?

MD: Yeah, I'm on punt returns, punt coverage, kickoffs and kickoff coverage.

What other options did you have coming out of high school?

MD:I had a couple of colleges look at me. I had attended camp at Syracuse. They liked me at first then decided I was too small. Richmond thought that I was too small. I went to Nike Camp at Rutgers and did a good job, but I didn't want to stay in Jersey. My mom wanted me to get as far away from New Jersey as I could.

Did you know Albert Young and James Townsend?

MD: I played against Albert. I was a running back in high school. He would score a touchdown. Then I would score. It was back and forth.

Who won?

MD: They beat us by one point, 27-26.

Are you comfortable out here with Coach Wilson and some of the other New Jersey guys?

MD: Once I got out here, the coaches treated me like I was one of their top players. That helped a lot. It made me confident. I felt like if I got respect from the coaches, then I've got a chance. Not one time did I ever feel like I didn't have a chance to be in the position that I am.

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