The renewed attention led Dawson, a 6-foot-2, 222-pound linebacker from Charlotte (N.C.) Berry to travel to Chapel Hill this past Saturday for the UNC-Rutgers game. The contest was his first at Kenan Stadium this year, though he had attended a game last season.
"I thought it was great," Dawson said of the visit. "Even though Coach [Butch] Davis got fired, I still think [UNC] is moving ahead. For them to be 2-0 considering what they've gone through that shows a lot of leadership."
If fences weren't completely mended prior to Saturday's trip, they were during pre-game warm-ups when Everett Withers pulled Dawson out of the group of visiting recruits and conversed with him in the middle of the field.
"For [Withers] to spend that time with me while they were warming up was great," Dawson said. "He just said that they just want me, they're recruiting me, and to keep them in the running. To me [that conversation] means I'm high on their board. Really, I don't think he brought [any other recruits] out on the field and there were a lot of people there. That just showed me a lot about North Carolina."
Following UNC's 24-22 victory, Dawson had a conversation with Art Kaufman, UNC's linebackers coach, in the locker room.
"He said they need linebackers and also he just broke down the linebackers that they had last year and two of them went in the [NFL] Draft," Dawson said. "He said at least two of them are going to be in [the Draft] again this year. So they're putting linebackers in the league. They run an NFL style defense, so playing in it would make me have a step over other college players."
Dawson says that the visit overall has opened his eyes to UNC and the turbulent off-season hasn't soured him on the Tar Heels.
"Coach Davis and I really didn't have a good connection," Dawson said. "We talked a lot, but we never had a great connection. Coach Withers was the one that came to my school and [Kaufman] showed me a lot of love too."
Learning from the misunderstanding with UNC, Dawson has thrown out the idea of naming favorite schools.
"I'm all open," Dawson said. "I'm open to everybody. I'm not putting a list together anymore, because I think [when I do that] some colleges get the wrong idea about how ‘I'm going here' or ‘I'm going there' or ‘I don't have a chance with that dude.' And really, I want to give everybody an opportunity."
With that said, Dawson, who had originally planned to announce his collegiate decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, is unsure when he'll make a verbal commitment.
"I'm just going to let it come," Dawson said. "I'll make my decision when the time is right."
Dawson hasn't begun to schedule official visits. The only definite official destination is Miami.
Two of the schools actively recruiting him have received verbal commitments from Dawson's teammates – Kedrick Davis and Germone Hopper have committed to UNC and Clemson, respectively. Dawson says both are recruiting him to their respective schools equally as hard.
"I get ‘Let's go to Chapel Hill together,' ‘Let's go to Clemson together,' ‘Naw, don't go to Clemson, go to Chapel Hill,' – it's back-and-forth," Dawson said.
This weekend, Dawson says he might go to the Auburn-Clemson game at Clemson or the Louisville-Kentucky game in Lexington.