Ridgeway's Sheldon Dawson picks Memphis

MEMPHIS — When Ridgeway High School star Sheldon Dawson got ready to announce where he'll play his college football next year, he decided to forego the overused tradition of choosing from three or four ballcaps on the table in front of him.

He kept his presentation simple because the decision itself was simple.

The speedy 5-foot-11, 175-pound multi-purpose athlete committed to Memphis during a brief ceremony in his high school's gym Monday — and he had a long list of good reasons why.

Tops on the list were his close relationship with Memphis coach Larry Porter and the rare chance to play both offense and defense.

"I met Coach Porter my ninth-grade year when he was still coaching at LSU," said Dawson, who is ranked as the 10th best prospect in Tennessee by Scout.com. "He liked what I was doing then, and he told me to just keep working and he would be in contact with me. We have a real close relationship, and that had a lot do with my decision."

Dawson ran for 1,045 yards last year and scored 14 touchdowns as a running back while sharing the rushing load with other talented ball carriers. He also made 41 tackles as a defensive back.

"Coach Porter would like for me to play running back and sometimes come in as the nickel back on defense," Dawson said. "I'll also have a chance to contribute in the kick return game. You honestly can't ask for much more than that."

Dawson said he began leaning heavily toward Memphis when Melrose quarterback Will Gross, the state's 14th-ranked prospect, announced last week that he will play for the Tigers.

"I saw another top-25 recruit who wanted to stay here at home and help Memphis out, so I wanted to do the same thing," Dawson said. "Many may say we're making a bad decision, but we just believe. We believe in Coach Porter, and we believe we can help him get the job done."

Dawson is the fourth player from Ridgeway to commit to a Division I school this summer. The others are running back Jaylen Walton (Ole Miss), offensive lineman Cordale Boyd (Arkansas) and defensive end Brandon Lewis (Arkansas).

Roadrunners coach Duron Sutton said he feels like a proud father everytime one of his players makes a declaration.

“It just doesn’t get any better than this,” Sutton said. “For these guys to be able to take their God-given ability to the college level is a fantastic thing — and they’ve been really anxious to get this out of the way so they can concentrate on the season we have coming up.

“This is just a great time of year.”

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Comments » 30

TheOpinion writes:

GVX I really appreciate you guys being on top of this story. Now keep putting UT recruiting news under the 24/7 site and ask us to pay for it. But again thanks for the free recruiting news from other schools.

FLORIDAGATORHATER writes:

I have a great idea. You guys should write a story about every high school football player in the South who commits to schools other than Tennessee. Now that would be compelling journalism. Oh wait....

Vol_atile writes:

in response to mempuss:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You took the words right outta my mouth.

BigBadVol writes:

And we care why?

keepitreal4vols writes:

Memphis has a football team?

bigorange61 writes:

If he had committed to UT, it would have been "Oh great, Dooley signs another 3 star". But since he didn't sign it's "Dooley loses another great instate talent". No way to win with some of you guys. Seriously, some of you need to get a life. Or jump off a bridge. You are pathetic POS.

FarmerVol writes:

5'11' an 175? OMG, how did Derek miss this one? Wait - most likely its 5" 8 or 9 and 160 - 165 and we already have someone like this from Bearden. And our guy is faster, TG. Tiger High is a much better fit for the young man. Good luck and do well.

born2ride writes:

The Vols pulled back. We wanted him as DB only. Memphis was the only school to offer him as a RB and DB. That is why he went to Memphis.

Dawson may be the best overall athlete in Tenn this year. Great player with breakaway speed.

Kimbrow - Vandy
Dawson - Memphis

Kiffin would have signed both.

Dexter writes:

Dawson's team, Ridgeway, was the state runner-up last year, and has 5 of the top 25 Tennessee top-ranked recruits this year as per Rivals. Dawson, at #10, was the highest ranked Ridgeway player. Not sure how bad UT wanted him, but almost all of the top Memphis-area players have now committed to SEC schools, Cincy or Memphis. Dawson's final 4 were Arkansas, Georgia, Memphis and us.

bebecerveza writes:

in response to bigorange61:

If he had committed to UT, it would have been "Oh great, Dooley signs another 3 star". But since he didn't sign it's "Dooley loses another great instate talent". No way to win with some of you guys. Seriously, some of you need to get a life. Or jump off a bridge. You are pathetic POS.

Whats the matter, your mangina hurting today? Go get some Motrin and relax.

For the people who are mad we didn't get him, we have roughly 20 spots this class and he is not a need at this time. Stars smars, we need the big uglies on the DL.

MusicCityVol writes:

If he wants to waste away at a Conference USA cellar dweller then by all means, good luck. Meanwhile, Dooley will continue to get the targets he wants.

Vols Top Ten Uncommitted Targets for 2012
http://www.checkerboardchatter.com/20...

FearTheVols1252 writes:

So let me get this straight... this kid wants to play offense, defense, and special teams?!? Ummm... yeah... he's going to spend the better part of his college career injured on the sidelines. This ain't high school ball any more. Well... he is going to Memphis, so maybe it will be like high school. Wouldn't be able to pull that off in the SEC.

easleychuck writes:

Born in Memphis, went to high school in Memphis, attend college in Memphis. Die in Memphis. I see a pattern with most Memphis athletes.

They basically live in the 'state' of Memphis.

Kelly8 writes:

I have no idea why anyone pretends that Memphis is part of the state of Tennessee in any way. Have fun playing in front of 3,000 at the Liberty Bowl.

bigorange61 writes:

in response to bebecerveza:

Whats the matter, your mangina hurting today? Go get some Motrin and relax.

For the people who are mad we didn't get him, we have roughly 20 spots this class and he is not a need at this time. Stars smars, we need the big uglies on the DL.

I think you need to relax and read what I said. The same people who complain about signing 3 stars complain when we don't sign an instate 3 star. I don't complain about stars. I trust the coaches to recruit. I agree with you that we need DL's anyway.

ProwlinAndGrowlinSmokeyDog writes:

RB's and DB's aren't an area of need..Bring on the DT's and LB's!!!

NeylandWest writes:

in response to Acadia_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I disagree. Give Dooley a freaking chance.

NeylandWest writes:

When Dooley came on board he admitted Memphis was a good talent pool, but also was quick to tell everyone what we've always known - Atlanta and the rest of the state of Georgia is where he'll focus.

I have to agree with that. How many of our greats came from the state of GA? Think about it.

ETNTigerFan writes:

I have to hand it to Coach Porter for going after these kids and signing them. And kids with big offers from SEC schools. Especially with the abysmal past two years of football in Memphis. He's finally getting the talent needed to build a good team after Tommy West basically gave up on recruiting and started signing marginal D1 athletes and JUCO players. Can't wait to see what kind of talent he can get after he starts winning some games.

VOLliven2it writes:

in response to Acadia_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You don't have to watch at all man. Go and yell for a blow past MTSU return specialist if you don't like Coach Dooley. We true Vol fans will be here waiting when you return. Good grief, we are what we are right now and our head coach is doing his best with what he has to work. Give it a year or two and if we make no progress be an "I told you so" guy. We will listen and agree. For now, please just chill out. Bill Battle comparisons, that is a hoot.

VOLliven2it writes:

With all things being said Sheldon Dawson, I wish you well at Memphis. You chose to go there for your own reasons and that is good enough for me. Now I hope the Vols continue to spank the Tiges but wish you the best and lots of playing time.

NeylandWest writes:

in response to Acadia_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why are you so quick to down Dooley? By the time we hired him and dealt with attrition, we were down to 56 scholarship players that were healthy enough to play.

That's not his fault.

He's doing a world of good with stable-minded kids and focus-driven athletes that are blue collar and WANT to be here.

Give the man a chance. Until then, Vandy and Memphis would certainly welcome you as a fan.

Colliervol writes:

Correction Neyland. Vandy and Memphis would welcome ANY warm body as a fan (and maybe a few dead ones). Some of our fans (and I use the term loosely) don't have a clue how long it takes to rebuild from the issues we had. I just wish some of them would think before talking but that would be asking a lot.

As far as these Memphis kids go, if a pair of 170 pound running backs are in the top 10 in the state as recruits, that tells you all you need to know about the talent in Tennessee this year. No wonder we have to go far and wide for players. If Dooley offered this one, I'm sure it was as a DB. Like Kimbrow, he certainly can't play running back in the SEC except maybe situationally. In Conference USA, I might be able to play running back and I'm over 50.

transplantiam writes:

Hey, Acadia, how about just going on over and root for Memphis all the time and quit pretending to be a VOL fan. If you had enough sense to read about the Vols and our NEEDS, you would realize we don't need a 5'7" 160lb. guy on the d-line, because d-linemen are what we need now, not running backs.

Theo writes:

in response to Acadia_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My big question is why do you trolls use vols in your name or some other UT related mascot etc.? Do you think we are going to ignore the content of your posts and say yep, yep he must be right, he's got vols in his name? I think you should use a name that really describes you. Something like WifeDivorcedMeBecauseI'maJerk or IWouldSmellSaban'sUnderwear. Just a suggestion.

Theo writes:

Why so glum chum? We may have offered this young man but he obviously wanted to play both ways or at the very least RB. That was not in the cards for him at UT. Good luck to him, it wasn't a match with UT.
I really don't understand all the nastiness about Dooley. He has only been on the job one year and inherited a mess. The program is in better shape today than it was last year or the year before. I expect to see steady improvement over the next two, three, four years. Some of those programs that had great success with a first year coach had stocked cupboards and all the coach had to do was show up. Dooley has not had that luxury.
I realize I'm wasting my typing on the folks who panic over a 160 lb running back from Memphis but please try and lighten up a little. It is going to be fun to watch these young guys catch on and start to make a little noise. Go Vols!

mwm1955#226723 writes:

memphis players are garbage

mwm1955#226723 writes:

day in and day out

farvol86 writes:

Wow! This is depressing. Rivals.com had Larry Porter named top recruiter of the decade, but NOT as the Memphis coach. DD stands for a big DONUT as far as recruiting goes in '12. First Vandy takes 3 of the best and now Memphis is beating us for in-state players. Nice!

NeylandWest writes:

in response to farvol86:

Wow! This is depressing. Rivals.com had Larry Porter named top recruiter of the decade, but NOT as the Memphis coach. DD stands for a big DONUT as far as recruiting goes in '12. First Vandy takes 3 of the best and now Memphis is beating us for in-state players. Nice!

If CDD has the option of getting a better player outside the state of TN (that fits his system) then why waste time on players inside the state that don't?

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