DoresDaily Prospect Spotlight
Name: Dan Dawkins
School: Peddie School (NJ)
Twitter Handle: @Dandawkins_59
*Committed to Vanderbilt*
Offers: Vandy, Boston College, Buffalo, Duke, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, UNC, Old Dominion, Syracuse, Temple, Texas St, UAB and Virginia
Peddie School (NJ) lineman Dan Dawkins is rated by Scout as the 8th best center prospect but his stock continues to rise and by the time the 2018 recruiting cycle has concluded, the Jersey lineman could be seen as the top center prospect in the country. Dawkins is a versatile interior lineman who could play guard in college as well but translate best to center and his traits at that position is a main reason why Vanderbilt targeted him and made him an important piece to the 2018 recruiting puzzle. He joined his fellow Peddie School teammate in quarterback Allan Walters as commitments to Vanderbilt, when he pledged to the Commodores back in March. Dawkins choose the Commodores over offers from Duke, Michigan, UNC, Virginia and others.
Vanderbilt targeted Dawkins early in the process as someone as a must get for the future of their offensive line. Dawkins plays one of the most important positions on the field in center. The center is the quarterback of the offensive line and he must be smart to handle all the calls and adjustments from play to play. Dawkins has those abilities and more. The 6'3 lineman is highly intelligent both on and off the field but for football, Dawkins has the brain power to handle anything thrown his way and adjust accordingly. Dawkins is a vocal guy who has leadership traits written all over him and will sure make his presence felt the moment he arrives on campus.
Besides being smart and a leader, Dawkins is also exceptionally strong and is a workout warrior in the weight room. The 3-star recruit prides himself in being physically fit and in shape to handle what comes his way on the football field. Dawkins is highly competitive and loves having every edge possible when competing against the opposition. His strength at the point of attack is big reason why many schools were and still are interested in the Jersey interior lineman. Dawkins is more adept at handling the run game right now while he continues to better himself in pass protection. He actually handles himself quiet well in protecting the quarterback but doing that will become more complicated as he reaches into college football.
Dawkins fits what the Vanderbilt staff is looking for in a true student athlete. His makeup as a person fits the mold here in Nashville and the coaching staff believes his best football is certainly ahead of him. Dawkins is honestly as college ready of a lineman that you will find in high school. Playing the center position is much more difficult than the other spots on the line but Dawkins handles that position and the pressure of it very well. He also has the versatility to swing over to guard if need be. His value to an offensive line is great and the Commodores couldn't be more excited about bringing Dawkins into the fold. His maturity, intelligence and competitive nature could put him on the field against opposing SEC defensive lineman earlier than some may think and if that becomes the case, Vanderbilt would be quite fine with that.
At first I thought this would tough to find a comparison for Dawkins but after just a few minutes, the answer came. Dawkins really reminds me a lot of former Georgia Bulldog and current Tennessee Titans starting center Ben Jones. Both guys stand about 6'3 but both sport different styles in body. Dawkins is more defined while Jones has that country strong look but both guys play with high intelligence at the center position and both are extremely competitive. Jones was a 4 year starter at Georgia and earned several All-SEC accolades while in Athens. He was drafted in the 4th round by the Houston Texans and eventually became their starting center, however during free agency two years ago, the former SEC center signed a deal with the Titans. Jones is now going into his 2nd year with the Titans and has now established himself as one of the top center's in all of the NFL. Dawkins has a lot of the same traits that Jones possesses. The Vanderbilt commitment is also set to play his college football in the SEC and if he attains just some of the accolades that Jones did while college, the Commodores will have themselves a multi year starter who helps leads them to bowl games along with a possible future in the pro's.