Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reon Dawson, Wolverine

Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison cornerback Reon Dawson (image via Twitter)
Trotwood (OH) Trotwood-Madison cornerback Reon Dawson committed to Michigan on Monday.  Up to that point, he had been committed to Illinois; he also has offers from Arizona, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Pitt, Purdue, Virginia, and West Virginia, among others.

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)


  1. I like him better than you do mostly because he seems real sticky.

    I thought that 4.39 was fantasy also except that he is "always in their hip pocket" which makes me think that coverage is easy for him, which makes me think that maybe he is simply doing what is required and he can go faster if you can.

    I like him into the 70s ..... solid starter, and think just maybe he's that very tough to find tall cover corner.

  2. I won't pretend I'm not disappointed with the way secondary recruiting went this season. The promising early start (Thomas) and flirtations with many elite national prospects has turned into us flipping local kids from 2nd rate Big 10 programs. Outside of Thomas, none of these kids have remotely impressive offer lists.

    With that said, I approve fighting the lack of quality with quantity. It's a diverse group: Douglass and Lewis are average-sized CBs, Dawson and Stribling are tall, fast, and raw while Hill's a thicker guy. It's likely (near certainty) that some of these kids move to Safety or WR, but Michigan has injected a bunch of diverse players into the CB mix and satiated their desire for height in the secondary...for now.

    This is a good write-up of Dawson that made me a little more optimistic about his recruitment. Glad he has the raw tools to become a player down the line - hopefully he red-shirts next year and a couple years from now we're lauding the staff for unearthing all-conference players out of 'sleepers' like Dawson, Stribling, and Jeremy Clark.

  3. I like this pick-up late in the process. However, I have question for ya Thunder (or anyone who has an opinion on the matter). Do you think these taller corners (6'1 and taller) are going to be the new standard at corner? Will guys with height like Hollowell, Richardson, and Cissoko even be able to get interest from high level programs anymore? I know Hargreaves is under 6'0, but that kid is a special player.

    1. It is my hypothesis that this staff is detrimentally focused on height. They like tall linemen, tall receivers, and tall DBs. Height is great if you have the other elements but it's not one of the primary factors of success. There's only so many jump balls in a season.

      Speed is still the most important attribute for CBs and Richardson was one of the most highly recruited CBs in the country despite being short while Stribling and Dawson had few offers.

  4. Everybody needs nickels to cover slot receivers.

  5. 62 is the safe rating. Kid has a lot of upside. He has a good head for football. He needs his body and technique developed, but being so late to the game you'd expect him to be further behind than he is. He could have a good future at Michigan. Think he has some position flexibility at CB down the road.