Dawson gives Serrano another in-state product

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The excitement generated from Tennessee hiring Dave Serrano as its baseball coach continues to carry over to the recruiting world as the Volunteers are stockpiling talent for the future.

Another in-state product needed virtually no time to deliberate further about where he wanted to play his college baseball after meeting Serrano and his staff earlier this month.

Nick Dawson's decision to commit to Tennessee was nearly instantaneous as the Bartlett High School standout gave his pledge to Serrano shortly after traveling across the state to his home.

Dawson, a 5-foot-10, 180-pounder that has the ability to play a number of infield positions, enjoyed his time with Serrano and assistants Greg Bergeron and Bill Mosiello.

"I like all of them cause they just want to win really bad and believe that they're going to bring Tennessee to the top of the SEC," Dawson told InsideTennessee.com.

Lindsey-Nelson Stadium and the facilities Tennessee has to offer have also done their job of turning the heads of recruits.

"I like them a lot; they're really nice," Dawson said.

Dawson said he prefers to play shortstop but "will play anywhere they need me." There have been conversations about his possibly straddling the rubber from time to time as well.

Tennessee's 2012 recruiting class comes with a fair amount of chemistry the second it's in place in Knoxville. Dawson is the third member of Team Tennessee from the Junior Sunbelt Classic roster to commit, joining Dyer County pitcher Colton Harris and two-way player Andrew Lee of Morristown West.

Team Tennessee is known for carrying a load of Div. I prospects to the 10-game Classic in Oklahoma each year. Dawson said he is proud to be one of the few to get a chance to suit up for the Volunteers.

"It feels really good because there are a lot of good players on that Sunbelt team," he said. "It feels really good to be one of the three that got picked."

The Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State team member also considers UT commit and Farragut shortstop A.J. Simcox a friend and plays his games just 7 miles from Evangelical Christian catcher Michael Parrish.

Dawson played with pitcher Taylor Morton at Bartlett. Morton was a Tennessee signee who decided to pass on college baseball after getting drafted by the New York Yankees in the ninth round last year.

Earlier this summer, Dawson hung out with Morton in Florida and saw his old teammate toss the pill. The right-handed pitching Morton is 3-2 with a 1.98 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched with 49 hits and eight walks allowed.

Morton, 19, gave his young friend some advice with the recruiting process.

"He told me that whenever I'm talking to coaches, they're all going to be nice just because they're trying to get me. He just gave me some advice on what to believe and what not to believe," Dawson said.

This past season Bartlett finished runner-up in District 14-AAA. It then eliminated Jackson North Side before finishing second in Region 7-AAA to advance to the sectional round, where its season ended with a 16-5 loss to Collierville.

Dawson hit .368 with 53 runs, 37 RBIs and 11 doubles for Bartlett. He also notched four saves on the mound en route to being named co-District 14-AAA player of the year.

Dawson said the Bartlett program and coach Phil Clark prepared him "extremely well because (Clark) pushes us to get better every day in both the weight room before the season and at practice."

Dawson hopes to lead Bartlett to its first Class AAA state championship since 2007.

"I think we have a good chance," he said. "We don't have a lot of pitching, but we have young pitchers that are coming up that should do a pretty good job. And, I think we can hit any pitching."

The Panther shortstop and closer knows that opponents will be gunning for him as a future Southeastern Conference athlete.

"It's good because I'm going to see curveballs in hitters' counts. They're just going to flip a curveball in there, and I've got to be able to adjust and hit it," he said.

Dawson, who admitted he didn't consider the Vols before the new staff took over, also had offers from Memphis and Austin Peay. He carries a 3.0 GPA with an 18 ACT but is taking the test again in a month. He is undecided on a major.

Nick Dawson

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