Coach Spotlight: Vincent Dallas

Raymond Bonner, head football coach at Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Ga., says he knew he had a special player in Vincent Dallas since the his freshman year. The coach has seen Dallas blossom into an All-State player as a junior and senior and matriculate early to the University of Tennessee.

"Vincent was a very steady player as a freshman," said Bonner. "He was behind Josh Jarboe, an excellent receiver in his own right. His sophomore year was really outstanding and way ahead of where Jarboe was at that age."

After a big junior season, Dallas, 6-0, 185, had 800 receiving yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions for the Saints. Coach Bonner was looking for big things from Dallas as a senior, but he suffered a foot injury in the first game which caused him to miss the next four games.

"I told him he was worth 18 points per game for us," Bonner said. "Six on offense, six on defense, and six on special teams."

After losing to Stephenson, LaGrange, and Stone Mountain without Dallas, the Saints then reeled off five wins in a row to make the state playoffs.

"In the 1st round against Cartersville, Vincent was playing a heck of a game," said Bonner. "We switched him fro safety to cornerback to check their leading receiver. We were only up six late in the game, and they had the ball at the 15. They threw to him in the endzone, and Vincent picked it off to seal the win."

Bonner used Dallas on defense at free safety and cornerback, on offense at wide receiver, and special teams kick returner.

"Vincent plays with a lot of football savvy," Bonner said. "He's got legit 4.4 speed, an excellent vertical jump, and shows tremendous endurance in being able to play an entire game on both sides of the ball.

"He's a game changer offensively or defensively. Probably playing cornerback is where his future is going to be, but he'd make a heck of a receiver."

"In the spring of his junior year, Nebraska was the first to offer Dallas on a Friday. Bonner says by Monday he had many more. Dallas picked the Vols in October over scholarship offers from Auburn, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and others.

"Once Coach Dooley had the chance to talk with him one-on-one, that probably sealed the deal," said Bonner. "He came to Atlanta to watch him play, and I think that meant a lot to Vincent. He's now enrolled at Tennessee. Going in early will give him a better chance to play as a freshman. He had taken all of his classes here and was ready to go to Tennessee to prove he can do whatever he sets his mind to."

Leaving early to go to UT means Dallas had to give up his final season of track at Cedar Grove. He's recorded a 47.7 in the 400m and was a state champion in the 4x400m relay in 2009.

"He thought about staying to run track, but I think this will give him a chance to get into rhythm with going to class and playing football," said Bonner. "The tempo is much greater than it is in high school. The football, the school work, the social life is all accelerated, and this gives him a whole semester to adjust to the lifestyle that's going to be asked of him as a student/athlete."

Dallas wore No. 4 for the Saints. In addition to being named All-State he was also selected for the East-West All-Star game. Cedar Grove finished 8-5 on the season making it to the 3rd round of the AAA playoffs.

Vincent Dallas

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