Dawkins hopes to make impact at Purdue

Not long after accepting Purdue's head-coaching position, Darrell Hazell made four-star running back Dalyn Dawkins a priority prospect. A quick recruitment lead the Louisville native to the Purdue program. Now, he's eager to get started.

It was just weeks before Signing Day and Dalyn Dawkins was unsure where he would play college football. Offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Colorado State and Western Kentucky were standing out. Then, out of nowhere came Purdue.

Darrell Hazell, then just weeks into his new head-coaching job at Purdue, visited with Dalyn Dawkins at Trinity (Ky.) High School and extended a scholarship offer. Hazell made it known to the four-star running back that he was a priority for the Boilermakers. Dawkins was sold on his first visit in West Lafayette, coming just before Signing Day. Better late than never.

"That doesn't happen a lot," said Dawkins of his late recruitment. "What he saw in me, I appreciated. He was coming after me and giving me an opportunity."

After accepting the Purdue job, Hazell faced the daunting task of saving the 2013 class former head coach Danny Hope had built, all while finishing it strong. Dawkins became a key piece to that puzzle. Hazell believes the versatile athlete compares to Dri Archer, the record-breaking running back he coached at Kent State.

One of the primary reasons Dawkins picked Purdue is because he believes early playing time is a possibility. The coaching staff has offered no guarantees, so he's working hard toward that goal.

"I want to be able to come in and compete, and hopefully play a big role on the offense," said Dawkins.

In order to get on the field, Dawkins has been challenging himself. He spends time each day in the weight room and has participated in workouts at his high school.

"I'm just working every day, trying to get in tip-top shape," Dawkins said. "I'm getting ready for June when I leave [to Purdue], when I get there."

Dawkins has maintained contact with other members of his class, and is eager to officially join the Purdue program. He has given the upcoming schedule a close glance and is optimistic about the Boilermakers' prospects.

"I think it looks good," he said. "We've got some big-time games, but it looks exciting. I expect to win. I think we're going to do some pretty big things this year."

At Purdue, Dawkins will fulfill a dream of playing college football. He's excited to begin work on campus.

"Really, my long-time goal was to pay college football," he said. "I get to do that at a high level."

Now, Dawkins has his sights set on greater goals, which he hopes to accomplish in a Purdue uniform.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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