Marcus Dawson takes patient approach to recruiting | High School Sports | #schoolsaftey

Only four of Louisiana’s top-50 recruits from the Class of 2024 have yet to commit to a college football program.

One of them is University High’s Marcus Dawson, a three-star safety ranked among the state’s top-20 players, according to 247sports. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound senior is a late bloomer. Most of his nine offers didn’t arrive until after his junior year, when he switched positions – from corner to safety.

Dawson is taking a patient approach to the recruiting process. He doesn’t want to rush.

“At first, I was just an athlete out there with no IQ,” Dawson said, “just like a chicken with no head, really. So, I just had to work on my skill and get better and then, just put myself out there more, just expose myself to more and more things.”

Dawson is a physical safety who likes to roam into the box and make tackles near the line of scrimmage. He played cornerback during his sophomore season. But coach Andy Martin and his staff decided to move him to safety not only to fill a need at that spot, but also to showcase more of Dawson’s physicality.

Now, Dawson is more comfortable and confident, and he sees the field better.

“I think a college coach is getting a guy that’s eager to learn,” Martin said, “that’s gonna come in and from day one, be very physical and be able to do things that you need him to do.”

U-High’s star-studded defense – featuring Dawson, Notre Dame freshman linebacker Jaiden Ausberry and junior four-star Keylan Moses – led the team to a Division II state title in 2021 and a Division III select semifinal appearance in 2022.

As a sophomore, Dawson blocked a field goal in the Cubs’ 14-7 state championship win. And as a junior, he intercepted star Newman quarterback Arch Manning and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown in U-High’s 49-13 victory over the Greenies in the quarterfinals.

After that strong junior season, Dawson received offers from mostly in-state public schools, like Southeastern, Nicholls, Grambling and ULM.

“I just hope my mom can see me one day playing on TV,” Dawson said, “my grandparents. Just make my family proud because none of my parents graduated from college. So, I’ll be the first one to actually go to college, graduate, get a degree, even if I don’t make it with football. It’s just good for me to be able to have a way to go to college.”

Martin said that in Dawson, a college coach is getting a tough, hard-nosed safety with lots of experience. As a corner, he relied only on his wiry frame, his athleticism and his instincts. But now as a safety, Martin said, he sees the field more clearly and anchors the Cubs’ coverage responsibilities from the back end of the defense.

But he’s at his best when he drops down into the box and disrupts opposing offenses.

“He’s gonna do things right,” Martin said. “He’s gonna do things the way that you want it done. He’s gonna work hard. You’re getting a student of the game from him.”

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