The commitment of Chicago (IL) St. Rita High cornerback Lamar Dawson was not unexpected. He indicated a few weeks ago that Syracuse was the only school he was looking at and he would likely commit during his visit. He did just that on Saturday, becoming the tenth member of the Orange's 2014 class to date.
But Dawson's commitment is an important one for Syracuse. It gives them another talented defensive back, the first at corner. Cornerback was a key position for the Orange during this recruiting cycle. While they are still in on several talented prospects such as Deion Hallmon, Antwan Cordy, and others, landing one early allows Syracuse not to panic in those recruitments.
Ideally, Syracuse would like two or three at the position in this class. Landing a 3-star prospect who they really liked before the calendar turns to August is important. Over the next two years, Syracuse is losing four corners, including Ri'Shard Anderson, Keon Lyn, and Brandon Reddish. Syracuse needs the next wave of talent at the position and Dawson is a strong start.
Make no mistake about it, Syracuse still needs to add at least one more cornerback this cycle. But landing Dawson means if the Orange miss on Hallmon and Cordy they will not have to reach quite as much. If they are able to add at least one of those targets, it gives Syracuse a strong cornerback haul that will add much needed depth at a position losing a lot of talent over the next two seasons.
The commitment also shows Syracuse's continued efforts in the Midwest are paying off. Already the third commitment from the region with the potential for more to come, the new staff continues to use its connections in the area in order to add talent to the roster. Not only that, but the Orange were able to beat out area schools like Michigan State and Cincinnati in order to land a talented prospect.
Aaron Roberts is visiting Syracuse on August 9th and is expected to make a decision shortly after the trip if he doesn't commit while on campus. Having another Chicago product in the mix should only Syracuse's efforts here, despite already being in a good position. Landing two Windy City prospects would be a nice accomplishment for the new staff.
On film, Dawson stands out as a long, rangy corner with strong ball skills. His huge wingspan allows him to make plays even if he is beaten. He has strong football instincts and is able to attach the ball in the air at its highest point. Dawson is very athletic, and solid against the run as well.
Dawson brings versatility to the Orange with a skill set that suggests he can play both corner and safety. Syracuse is bringing him in as a corner initially, but the ability to play multiple positions is attractive. The biggest question with Dawson is his speed. He believes he has the speed to stay with division one receivers and will look to prove that when he arrives at Syracuse.
As a junior, in his first season at St. Rita, Dawson finished the season with eight interceptions. Even more impressive is that the last five came in the last three games of the season where Dawson shined after finally adapting to his new environment. Syracuse is hoping Dawson can bring that type of ball hawking productivity to the collegiate level.