Duke Dawson feels recruiting analysts are sleeping on him.
He woke some of them up over the weekend.
The Florida cornerback commit from Cross City Dixie County competed in the IMG 7-on-7 Southeast Regional Tournament and was named the No. 1 defensive performer by Rivals.com.
“Because I come from a small town with (Class) 1A football, they think I can’t compete with guys that are going to 7A and 8A schools,” Dawson said. “I want to show people that I can be an All-American and I feel I did what I had to do to prove that.”
The 5-foot-11, 188-pounder had several pass breakups and showed great closing speed when breaking on the ball in coverage. Dawson led his team, Central Florida Top Recruits, to a 4-0 record Saturday and Sunday’s semifinals, although he missed the last two games with a minor knee injury.
“We started out real good and the intensity started picking up, so I caught on fire. That was the best 7-on-7 camp I’ve had,” the Rivals250 member said.
Central Florida Top Recruits is coached by former UF and NFL cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, who is also Dawson’s personal trainer.
“He told me I played like the No. 1 corner in the state,” Dawson said when asked what Ratliff’s thoughts were on his performance.
Dawson has yet to be invited to an All-American game, but he will be in Oregon this summer for The Opening combine and hopes to earn one there. But don’t expect him to ask for an invite.
“I make my statements on the field,” Dawson said. “Why talk about your game when it speaks for itself.”
Here are some highlights from Dawson at IMG Academy: