CROSS CITY, Fla. -- ESPN Watch List defensive back Duke Dawson (Cross City, Fla./Dixie County) has verbally committed to Florida. The 5-foot-11, 188-pound junior chose the Gators over in-state rival Florida State.
Dawson announced his decision at a ceremony held at his high school Tuesday afternoon.
The talented 2014 safety said his relationship with the Florida program is what ultimately persuaded him to choose the Gators.
"For one, I have felt the love there since day one and things haven't changed since," Dawson said. "I love talking to Coach T-Rob (Travaris Robinson), Coach [Will] Muschamp, Coach [Bryant] Young, Coach [Jeff] Dillman and the rest of them."
Dawson's comfort level with Florida started after receiving his first official scholarship offer at Florida's camp during the summer.
"They treat me as if I'm already there," Dawson said. "They check up on me, like asking if I'm healthy, how I did in my game the following day, and how my family is and how school is going. I also see myself fitting in there since day one at camp. Coach Muschamp says he wishes he could have me right now."
With his announcement coming so early, Dawson says he will likely not take any visits next year.
"No, probably not," Dawson said. "Florida is where I want to go."
This season, Dawson totaled 43 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He also added 159 yards rushing, 120 yards receiving and four total touchdowns on offense. Dawson has family ties to former NFL Pro Bowler Nick Collins.
Dawson becomes the Gators' fourth 2014 verbal commitment. All four are on the ESPN Watch List.