Ridgeway running back Sheldon Dawson committed Tuesday to the University of Memphis, becoming U of M coach Larry Porter’s fifth commitment of the 2012 class.
“I’d like to stay and work things out here. Many may say it’s a bad decision, but I just believe. I believe in my coach and I think we can get it done.”
Dawson picked the Tigers over Tennessee, Arkansas, and Georgia. Dawson said he elected to stay home because he wanted to have a hand in rebuilding his the Memphis program.
“Like I was headed to Tennessee, but I just felt in my heart that it wouldn’t be right because I love my city and I would love to see my city doing good," Dawson said. "I want to help change the program.”
Last week, Melrose quarterback Will Gross gave his commitment to Porter and the Tigers, which Dawson said had a huge impact on his own recruitment.
“It just takes one of us, guys in the city that are ranked in the Top 25, to just want to stay and work out and help Memphis out,” Dawson said. “(Gross’s commitment) was major.”
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Dawson said he was recruited as an athlete and expects to see playing time on both sides of the ball.
Last season, Dawson rushed for 1,108 yards and 14 touchdowns on 53 carries as the second running back behind Ole Miss commit Jaylen Walton.
“They’re getting great leadership with me,” Dawson said. “As a freshman, I’ve got big plans. I want to help the team.”
Dawson also becomes Ridgeway coach Duron Sutton’s fourth senior to go on to the next level, with quarterback Jamil Golden, who’s considering Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State, figuring to be the fifth.
“It’s a good feeling to see these guys achieve this level of success,” said Sutton, whose Roadrunners finished as state runners-up last season. “It’s exciting to see that they have these opportunities ahead of them.”
Sutton, who played football for the Tigers in the mid-1990’s, said he hasn’t yet coached a player with more ability than Dawson.
“In my 14 years of coaching high school, he’s the best overall athlete that I’ve had,” Sutton said. ““They got a gem, because if you think about his offers, it seems (Memphis) is getting a steal. I just think he’s trying to help resurrect a program that needs it.”