CB Sheldon Dawson commits to UGA

With national signing day less than 48 hours away, the Bulldogs got a jump on finishing their class with the commitment of defensive back Sheldon Dawson (Memphis, Tenn./Ridgeway).

"It's Georgia," Dawson said Monday night. "I am a Georgia Bulldog!"

Dawson committed to Georgia on the heels of his visit this past weekend to Ole Miss. It came down to a battle between the Rebels, the Bulldogs and the Memphis Tigers. The 6-foot-0, 178-pound cornerback had been committed to the Tigers for a long while before his recruitment exploded. Dawson received more than 16 offers from schools all over the nation, including SEC powerhouses Alabama and Arkansas.

After taking an official visit to Georgia late in December, Dawson told DawgNation that "I would say it was an A-plus visit, and Georgia is No. 1 for me right now." The Memphis coaching staff tried in vain to hold on to their prize recruit but the lure of playing in the SEC proved to be too much.

Dawson told DawgNation two weeks ago that Georgia was the team to beat, but then sounded unsure of his decision following an official visit to Ole Miss last weekend. While the appeal of playing close to home had Dawson strongly considering the Rebels, the Georgia coaching staff continued to work hard to pull Dawson all the way to Athens. Their diligence and tenacity paid off with the first defensive back commitment for the Bulldogs' 2012 class.

Dawson fits the bill of a prototypical cornerback in secondary coach Scott Lakatos' scheme. Plus, with an average of more than 21 yards per carry as a junior, Dawson will likely see action on offense. As a junior he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. Duron Sutton, his coach at Ridgeway, says Dawson feels he could fill the role vacated by Paul Hornung Award winner Brandon Boykin, who was recognized as the nation’s most versatile player of 2011-12.

Dawson gives Georgia 17 commitments, with eight known targets still left on the board for signing day. Once he signs his letter of intent, his arrival in Athens will prop up a depleted cornerback rotation caused mainly by Boykin’s graduation and the transfers of Jordan Love and Derek Owens.