|Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison cornerback Reon Dawson (image via Twitter)|
Dawson stands 6'2" and 175 lbs., claiming a 4.39 forty. He had 21 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery on the year.
ESPN: 3-star S, 77 grade, #41 S
Rivals: 3-star ATH
Scout: 3-star CB, #64 CB
247 Sports: 3-star CB, 84 grade, #82 CB
Dawson - who is not related to fellow 2013 commit David Dawson - is the teammate of linebacker Mike McCray II, another member of the recruiting class. The cornerback visited Michigan for the Iowa game, and an offer was extended in early December, around the time that Massillon (OH) Washington cornerback flipped to Ohio State. A Michigan offer is clearly a rung or two above an Illinois offer, and some believed that Dawson would flip immediately, but he also has a teammate (defensive end Jarrod Clements) committed to the Illini. He took an official visit to Michigan this past weekend and came away impressed enough to change his commitment.
At 6'2" Dawson has good length and a broad wingspan for the cornerback position. He shows an ability to use his hands at the line of scrimmage to redirect receivers and disrupt routes, which could be valuable on both Man and Cover Two schemes. He does a pretty good job of flipping his hips, and he runs well in a straight line. While I doubt the 4.39 forty time he lists, his highlights don't really ever show a point where he has to let loose and really motor. He does a good job of staying in the receiver's hip pocket.
Even though 175 lbs. seems skinny for his height, I wouldn't be surprised if he weighs less than that, maybe in the 165 lb. range. He's very thin and needs to add weight and strength before he becomes a viable college player. His lack of strength prevents him from redirecting receivers as effectively as possible, and it also might be a big reason why he's a tentative tackler. Dawson tends to stop his feet on contact and try to drag down ball carriers rather than drive his feet, but he does show a willingness to wrap up rather than diving at ankles, so there's some potential there. He also tends to sit a little high in his backpedal, which prevents him from breaking on balls thrown in front of him. Dawson does not appear to be a dynamic player with the ball in his hands.
Overall, there are a lot of technical issues to work out with Dawson, but he has some of the basic assets that one would look for in a boundary corner: size and speed. If he's able to add size and willing to clean up his technique, he could be a serviceable starter down the road. I would expect him to redshirt as a freshman and perhaps challenge for a starting spot as an upperclassman. He's a "high floor, low ceiling" type of kid who probably won't ever be a superstar but probably won't spend his entire career standing on the sideline.
This is Michigan's 26th commitment in the class of 2013 and the fifth cornerback, joining Ross Douglas, Delano Hill, Jourdan Lewis, and Channing Stribling. Dawson, Hill, and Stribling would all seem to be headed for the boundary corner position, although Hill and Stribling could easily play safety. In addition to McCray, Michigan got three commitments from Trotwood-Madison kids back in 2008: wide receiver Roy Roundtree, tight end Brandon Moore, and running back Michael Shaw. I would expect Michigan to be done recruiting defensive backs.
Here are his highlights from Hudl.
TTB Rating: 62 (ratings explanation)