Scout NFL Q&A: Colts DE Keyunta Dawson

Colts rookie Keyunta Dawson talks to's Ed Thompson about his 19 sacks at Texas Tech, his pre-draft visit with Indy and making the transition to the NFL. And don't miss the audio clip where he talks about the Colts' star defensive ends, the possibility of moving inside to DT, and which NFL player people have compared him to.

Ed Thompson: Walk us through your visit with Indianapolis back in April…

Keyunta Dawson: You come in and get to eat dinner, and then the whole next day is just getting physicals, getting medical re-certifications, and they make sure they get everything straight on their end of the deal. Then you tour the facilities, get to see some parts of the city, then you get to talk to some of the coaches and the front-office people.  I got to hang out with a couple players and I met Peyton Manning, that was really cool.  I got to spend some time with another player that went to Texas Tech, Dylan Gandy, who is a guard there. It was very laid back.  They basically want to get to know you and some of your background, see the facility and meet some of the coaches.

ET: Dylan's a good guy, you guys can hold that Texas Tech flag up together in Indianapolis…

KD: Yeah, he's one of my best buddies. I played with him for three years at Tech and he's one of my best friends on the field. It'll be good to go back and get our relationship back up again.

ET: Before your visit with the team had you ever been to Indianapolis?

KD: No, I had never been there before.

ET: What did you think of the city your first time there?

KD: It's nice, it's clean--really clean--people seem nice.  When we went in and out of the facilities the cop at the desk even waved.  So they seem like they have good people. I love the coaching staff and all of the front office people.  I feel like this is a great city to be in to play football.


(Photo: Texas Tech Athletics)
You have three older brothers. How much did that prepare you for a life of getting knocked around on the football field?

KD: I'll probably have a leg up on some people.  They're all bigger than me, I'm the youngest, so I got picked on a bit--not too bad--but it did make me go against people bigger than me. It did prepare me for the game of football a little bit. I learned a lot from them because they played football.

ET: Fans might also be interested to know the origin of your name…is it a family name, or was it picked for a specific reason?

KD: I really don't know, my mom picked it out.  I'm from Louisiana, so I thought it had like a French connection to it. I tried to go back and connect the dots, but I never could get a straight answer. I just think it's a name that appealed to my mom and she picked it. It is a different name, it's something you don't hear a lot.  I think I heard my name only one other time. I was at the doctor's office and they called a girl who had the same name as mine [laughs].  So that's the only other person I've known that has my name; it's kind of different.

ET: Do you have any nicknames?

KD: My nickname is Key. Even at Tech, some of the announcers messed it up so everyone started calling me Key Dawson. My family and my brothers call me Key, they just shortened it up a little bit.

ET: The Colts teach their defensive ends to get to the quarterback and when they're in there to focus on trying to strip the ball loose.  You had 19 career sacks, did they teach you a similar type of playing style down at Tech?

KD: Yeah, my defensive end coach coached at Oklahoma during the championship years and he stresses the same type of mentality when you get to the quarterback. That's what you live for as a defensive end, trying to get to the quarterback, trying to disrupt the running play and get in the backfield on every play. That's what appealed to me the most about Indianapolis, I want to carry that on. I'm coming in with a blank slate and I just want to learn as much as I can--because I'm a rookie and I do have a lot to learn.  It's a different level and a different game. I just hope I'll be able to move over smoothly and do my best.

ET: What do you think the toughest part about transitioning to NFL will be for you?

KD: I think for me it might be just learning the game. There's so much time put into the NFL now, studying film and the things I like to do anyway, but it's my job now. And I think just knowing that when I wake up everyday, I eat and sleep and play football, that's going to be the biggest thing. But I don't think it'll be a problem, it'll just be something I have to adjust to.

ET: Is there anything you'd like to say to the Colts fans who will be getting to know you over the upcoming months?

KD: I'm ready to work, I'm excited about being a Colt, and I feel like the best is yet to come. I had a pretty good college career, but I feel like I'll have a great career here.

Click the link below to listen in as Key Dawson talks about what he's noticed about how Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis play their position. And he'll also tell you what he thinks of the news that the Colts might move him inside to defensive tackle, and the current pro defensive lineman that people have compared him to that successfully made that transition:

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