The Tar Heels are looking to improve their offensive line for the future. If UNC hopes to remain in contention over the next few seasons after losing most of their best players, they will need to make Mitch Trubisky’s successor’s job a little easier. Trubisky was uniquely qualified to succeed despite the O-line’s inability to hold the defense. Whoever comes next will not be as gifted and will need all the time they can get in and around the pocket. Successfully recruiting center Dan Dawkins could help turn their weakness into a strength.
However, just as it seemed Dawkin was ready to make a commitment, things have now changed. According to his Twitter account, the New Jersey native had narrowed his list of schools to seven programs, including Syracuse, Old Dominon, Duke, Boston College, Temple, Missouri, and UNC. He was going to make a decision on Tuesday when suddenly things changed and he decided to hold off from making a verbal commitment for the time being.
Announcing my official verbal commitment today. Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/GzBq6X99v8— DanDawkins (@Dandawkins_59) December 20, 2016
According to a post he made on Instagram, Dawkins originally intended to make his announcement on the 20th. However, once he made his intentions public, he was contacted by many new schools that “expressed an interest that will dramatically change the landscape of my recruitment.”
Less than 12 hours after making his intentions known, Dawkins now held an offer from Michigan, a school that a teenage kid would definitely consider to be a game-changer. While we haven’t heard about any of the other schools that have contacted him, it’s safe to assume that there will be other top programs in the mix.
For all his youth, Dawkins seems to be a kid who takes this process very seriously, almost to the point where he doesn’t actually enjoy the recruiting process very much. Using phrases like “not always what’s best for recruits and coaches” and “necessary evil”, and words like “pressure” and “criticism” doesn’t help to paint a positive recruiting experience. One could easily assume that, despite his age and the time he has before making this big decision, he simply wanted to bring the whole process to an end as soon as possible. Now that he’s seeing bigger colleges knocking on his door who maybe didn’t expect him to make a decision so soon, he’s willing to delay his decision to find the perfect fit.
Before this happened, he hadn’t drawn much attention from the more prominent football programs around the country. His top seven practically made up his entire list of offers. The only teams left off the list, for whatever reason, were Rutgers and Indiana. The Tar Heels were one of the first major schools to offer him back in April, and that’s a little surprising considering how highly regarded he is currently.
247 Sports has the six-foot, 296-pound Dawkins ranking 310 on the national composite. He is regarded as the No. 2 center in the 2018 recruiting class and is the 10th best player to come out of New Jersey. Sure, centers probably don’t get a lot of attention on the recruiting trail, but Dawkins has the pedigree you would expect to receive more attention. It’s quite possible that this reality caused him to become disillusioned in the process, but ultimately, we really may never know.
Dawkins has another year to contemplate everything, so it’s unlikely we hear anything about this in the near future. Hopefully the Tar Heels can remain in the picture while he sees what could truly be out there for him. This team could really use him.