Josh Dawson believed Vanderbilt was the right school for him when he committed to the Commodores during a visit to Nashville on June 19.
Any doubts the defensive end from Tucker (Ga.) High School might have had were settled by Vanderbilt’s current roster of players.
“They were just telling me I made a great decision and that I’m going to be part of something special and part of a big turnaround in college football,” Dawson told MrSEC.
How big of a turnaround?
“We’re going to go for an SEC championship,” Dawson said. “I think we can make a run for it.”
Dawson chose Vanderbilt over schools that have already competed for conference championships. He said he took visits to Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Central Florida.
Prospects don’t typically choose Vanderbilt over schools at that level. Dawson said the recruiting effort of first-year coach James Franklin helped convince him to choose the Commodores.
“His passion for football and how he felt committed to turn the program around,” Dawson said of Franklin’s influence. “Vanderbilt was really on me.”
Dawson plans to be on several recruits, too. He said he has already spoken to prospects around the Southeast about the direction of Vanderbilt’s program.
“I’ll try to recruit the best people to go to Vanderbilt so we can try to win an SEC championship,” Dawson said. “We need to work hard.”
That work could pay off on Friday when three players announce their college decision. Defensive end Caleb Azubike, wide receiver Cory Batey and running back Brian Kimbrow are all expected to choose Vanderbilt when they announce their decisions in Nashville. That would push Vanderbilt’s commitment total to 11 prospects for 2012.
Kimbrow, who’s ranked the No. 1 prospect in the state of Tennessee by 247Sports.com, would be Vanderbilt’s highest-rated commitment for the 2012 class.
“I’m just looking for somewhere that’s comfortable for me,” Kimbrow told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Someplace that’s a good fit.”