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May 24, 2012
Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.
Like most OLs entering the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge, there will not be much trash talk from Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech four-star David Dawson.
"I don't do much talking," he said. "For those guys who do it's cool for them but I think that the ones that talk the most are the ones that end up doing the least."
It is an honest answer and a subtle shot across the bow of the players who have been declaring callouts heading into the June 22-24 camp and lineman challenge at Atlanta's Lakewood Stadium.
As the No. 199 overall prospect in the country, and a Michigan commit, Dawson feels as if he can let his play do all the talking.
His goals are ambitious and he declares them with no uncertain terms or minced words.
"I am going there trying to win the MVP of the linemen," Dawson said. "It is that simple. I will block to the whistle and be aggressive.
"That is just me being myself and there is no reason to think I need to do anything differently."
At 6-feet-5 and just over 300 pounds there are few that will argue with the massive tackle.
Dawson, who played last season at Houston (Texas) Cy-Ridge after spending his freshman and sophomore years at Cass Tech, said that his year in Texas paid dividends but also opened his mind to football across the country.
"It was hotter," he said. "That is about it.
"We have five-stars and they have five-stars. We have four-stars and they have four-stars. It's football."
Such will be his approach entering the invitation-only Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge that all the players are on equal footing no matter where they are from.
"We are all good players or we wouldn't be there," he said. "You aren't better just because you are from Texas and I am from Michigan."
What may give Dawson a step up on the competition is all of the talent that has come through Cass Tech. Since 2002 there have been 27 players go on to Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) schools from the program with nearly another 30 going to lower levels of college football.
"There is a little pressure that comes with it," he said. "The status of kids at Tech push you forward. You are working hard to get your ride; it makes you work out harder and that makes you better."
His inclusion in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge is validation, or sorts, that his work to keep the reputation of Cass Tech has been worth it.
"When (Rivals.com Midwest analyst) Josh Helmholdt called I thought it was just to check in," he said. "When he invited me to the event it felt great, like all my hard work was getting paid off.
"Now I just know that I have to go down there and do what I do and more people will notice."
Mike Farrell's take
Dawson will have quite an assignment in Atlanta. Not only will he need to deal with the three super sophs from his own region - Da'Shawn Hand, Andrew Brown and Malik McDowell, but the nation's No. 6 player Kenny Bigelow lurks as well. But going against those guys will prep him for the rest of the nation and he has more than held his own at some major camps including the U.S. Army All-American Combine. He's not intimidated at all and has a cool confidence about him and that will bode well for him at this event.