Photo courtesy of Mark Motz
The 2012 Trinity Rocks are absolutely loaded. Fresh off another state title and a national ranking, they looked poised to snatch another championship this year and send a plethora of players to various high major Division-1 programs. Guys like James Quick (undecided), Jason Hatcher (USC) and Ryan White (Vanderbilt) will pave the way for what should be another outstanding season. There’s also another guy who’s quietly – at least until now – gone about his business and steadily risen up the national recruiting ranks. 5-10, 185 lb, running back Dalyn Dawkins is now listed as a 4-star player in the latest Scout.com rankings and he holds offers from Illinois, Purdue, Colorado State, Ball State and Cincinnati. Other schools like Ohio State, Arkansas and Mississippi State are also beginning to show some interest. One school curiously missing from that list is Louisville. Dawkins, the son of former Cardinal great Ralph Dawkins, does not currently hold an offer from the UofL staff and has not named them on any of his lists when speaking with recruiting analysts. But why? Louisville has already watched two top-flight in-city kids (Hatcher and White) slip through their fingers and a third (Quick) appears to have reservations about the future of the Big East. Losing a fourth would be rather devastating, particularly from a perception standpoint. But perhaps there’s more to this equation than appears on the surface. I actually see both sides of the coin and it’s worth exploring.
– Louisville is stacked at the running back position. They has five backs in the program right now on scholarship – and none are seniors. Two of the backs (Corvin Lamb and Brandon Radcliff) are technically just freshmen, and have incredibly bright futures. It could simply be a situation in which they just don’t have the need for him in this particular recruiting class.
The staff has talked about keeping local talent in house from the first day they arrived on campus. Yet, we’re starting to see an alarming trend of these kids choosing to go out of state and play in bigger, more traditional football conferences. The program can’t afford to take another loss from a 4-star caliber player from within the city of Louisville. The perception is negative and it can work against the Cards on the recruiting trail. Offering this kid and reeling him in would be a nice coup for the staff.
– He doesn’t have to play running back at the next level. This Louisville staff has changed positions for many of its current players and the results have been incredibly positive. In football, often times you just take the best athletes. Finding a position is the easy part.
– Grayshirt him. If he’s willing to sit for a year, you can gray or redshirt him and then wait for seniors-to-be Dominique Brown, Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright to graduate and move on. At that point, Dawkins would have had a year to gain weight and become acclimated with the system.
It’s a tough call, but in the end, the pros seem to outweigh the cons. If the kid has a monster year it’s going to be impossible not to offer him. However, the staff can certainly wait it out for a little while and see what other options are out there. They can begin to show some love and recruit him from a distance and then spring an offer on him later this fall if he stays healthy and produces like many pundits are predicting. In the end, his father’s ties to the University and the fact that he’s a 4-star player right in our own backyard might prove too much to look past. Charlie Strong has already missed on White and Hatcher, so missing a third time is not an option.