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By LARRY VAUGHT

He continues to hear from some of the nation’s top football programs, including Oregon and three in the Southeastern Conference, as well as a slew of recruiting analysts and media members. He’s been selected to play in one of the nation’s elite high school all-star games — the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio Jan. 8 on NBC-TV — and recently set a school record with 32 tackles against East Jessamine.

Yet Boyle County senior Lamar Dawson has not wavered on his final seven schools and continues to insist winning a state championship remains his top priority. Boyle, which has a 25-game winning streak and has won 38 of 39 games the last three years, opens the playoffs Friday by hosting Bourbon County.

Here are some thoughts he shared during a live chat at vaughtsviews.com:

Question: When are you going to commit?
Dawson: “I plan right now to make my decision around signing day. My top schools remain Kentucky, Oregon, Florida, Michigan, Louisville, USC and Tennessee.”

Question: Are you coming to Kentucky?
Dawson: “I was at Kentucky for the Georgia game and had a nice time. Kentucky remains on my list. I am going to Tennessee for the Kentucky game later this year and they are also still on my list.”

Question: What is the biggest factor you will be looking for in picking a school?
Dawson: “I am looking for the best school where I feel comfortable. Distance will not be a factor. It will be a combination of how I fit with the players and coaches.”

Question: Jacob Tamme or you? Who’s the better Boyle County star?
Dawson: “Jacob Tamme because he is in the NFL and he has four state championship rings and bowl rings from college, too.”

Question: What do you plan on studying in college?
Dawson: “I am still undecided about a major in college as of now.”

Question: Are you aware that you will fit very nicely with UK, a team that needs a stud linebacker like you?
Dawson: “It could be a great opportunity for me but there is also a chance for playing time at other schools. A chance to play early will be a little bit of a factor in my college choice. I am going to make my own decision. I really am not relying on anyone else to help me decide.”
Question: Does program history play a big factor for you … does a school like Florida seem more appealing to you than a school with less history like UK?
Dawson: “History really does not play a factor with me. I am just looking at what is best for me as of now.”

Question: Would it be important and be a key factor to try and help a program turn the page?
Dawson: “I really have not thought about what I could do for a program or anything like that. I just want to decide where will be best for me.”

Question: How much of an impact do you think you could make on a program from a leadership standpoint?
Dawson: “I hope I can be a big role model and do the right things on and off the field and have guys look up to me.”

Question: What do you like the most about UK?
Dawson: “I like that Kentucky is close to home and knowing the city up there and I know people like Jordan Aumiller.”

Question: Do you feel like you can come into the college game and be an impact player as a freshman?
Dawson: “If I work hard, I think I could be. I will just have to get used to the bigger linemen on the college level, and the speed.”

Question: Is there anything that sticks out about Kentucky coach Joker Phillips’ personality?
Dawson: “I just think coach Phillips is a great guy. He is just funny and has a great personality.”

Question: Are you looking to complete a degree or make it to the NFL as soon as possible?
Dawson: “I am looking to complete my degree, but if there was an opportunity to go in the first two rounds of the draft I would have to go. I have always dreamed about playing in the NFL.”

Question: Do you have a preference about which linebacker position you play in college?
Dawson: “I really don’t care which position. I sometimes play outside and sometimes in the middle even for us now, so it doesn’t really matter.”

Question: Do you think you are strong and fast enough to start as a freshman in the SEC?
Dawson: “I think I am fast enough and strong enough to play and that’s what teams are telling me is why they are recruiting me.”

Question: Who is someone that you look up to or someone that you try to play like?
Dawson: “I like Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers. I watched him at Mississippi. I just like the way he plays.”

Question: Why you are considering Tennessee?
Dawson: “They have a good program, they are in the SEC and I like the coaches.”

Question: Are you a UK fan in the sense of just being a pure fan?
Dawson: “I have been a Kentucky fan ever since I was little.”

Question: Are you going to make your list of top schools smaller at some point or is it going to stay at the current list until you make your decision?
Dawson: “At some point I will narrow down to about three or four. That is still hard to do until I get to visit each place.”

Question: Are you going to take an official visit to Kentucky?
Dawson: “I don’t know about Kentucky. It’s so close I might not use an official there and probably the same with Louisville.”

11 Responses to Q&A with LB Lamar Dawson

  • Andy P. says:

    Give us some odds, Larry. What do you think?

  • Papablu says:

    This type of talent doesnt come around often enough in our state. We should NEVER lose these guys to other schools. I am excited to get the chance to have someone like Mr. Dawson playing on Saturdays at Commonwealth.

    I wish him well where ever he goes, but I hope he sees that we need him and he answers the call.

    We have been fortunate that guys like the LaGrange young men and others have come in to help build this program and move it forward, and they will ALWAYS have a special place in our hearts we should be grateful…..but there is something about the home kids…..especially the ones that were born BLUE….ask Joker …..he’s one of them.

    GO BIG BLUE!!

  • larryvaught says:

    I still think about 70-30 UK. Key is UK’s willingness to wait and not pressure him for a decision. and I think Joker and Chuck know that

  • Beth says:

    Well, I hope he comes to UK, but I’m not so optimistic. These kinda players tend to get away from us. And playing at Oregon, Florida or USC, I’m sure, are pretty appealing. Only thing about USC is that they are on probation. Hopefully, being close to home and being a UK fan will work in our favor. But I would not be surprised if he left the state.

  • UKFMLY says:

    His recruitment reminds me of Micah Johnson’s. He is that super elite level athele that can help change the program. I remember Paw Paw saying that signing Johnson was the start of the turn around for UK. This young man could be the beginning of the move to the next level. IMO. Hope you come to UK MR. Dawson.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. GO BLUE AND KEEP THE GREAT ONES AT HOME! ! !

  • larryvaught says:

    He is absolutely a huge recruit for UK both for playing ability and public perspective

  • Tana says:

    Thanks so much for sharing Lamar Dawson’s comments, Larry. I loved reading how he wants to be a “role model,” both on and off the field. I’m also hoping that Kentucky performs impressively and comes out with a win in Knoxville during Dawson’s visit. Since Dawson has been a Kentucky fan from virtually his birth and has obviously never witnessed a Wildcat victory over the Vols, I suspect such a happening just might have a positive effect on both his heart and his brain.

    I honestly feel that Dawson would never regret becoming a Wildcat. Having listened to teary-eyed Kentucky seniors’ having shared their feelings about having become a Wildcat (and that’s those who had chosen to come here while the program had been struggling), particularly the Kentuckians’, I think Dawson would find that there’s nothing more special than being a significant part of his homestate university’s success. Too, goodness, Coach Smith has coached linebacker after linebacker to the NFL. Having said that, though, most of all, I want the best for Lamar Dawson, especially because he sounds like such a nice young man. GO CATS!!!

  • jauk11 says:

    I have posted some of this before but it is true and I hope bears repeating. Lamar would never be appreciated as much anywhere as he would be by UK fans. If he got injured warming up for his first game and never played a down for UK he would still be known and loved by UK fans, where he could get lost in the shuffle somewhere else. I cannot imagine wanting to go to UT where they keep criminals out of jail, I think our coaching staff has ten times the integrity as theirs, I have no doubt Dooley knows or could have found out who the ones that should have been punished were, if they wanted to hang together he should have hung them together. He copped out. Also if you go to UT fans will always have to wonder if the Orange Crush were your recruiters.

    UK has done a great job putting two stars in the league, and Smith has sent several two stars at linebacker. If he can’t attract the NFL’s attention at UK he would never get on the field at Florida. UK has some great coaches both in character and in coaching up their players to compete with the four nd five stars in the SEC.

    UK’s talent is steadily rising, 18 two stars in the graduating class and only one confirmed in this years class so far, and ne may not keep his scholarship. Lamar would not only help our talent level, he might also attract some more four stars to help him.

    I expect UK to be much better next year, last years class stressed defensive players and we have a lot of returning starters plus redshirts. I think UK could have had a breakout season last year without the crippling injuries, they could have this year with even a tie on the breaks, and I think they WILL have a breakout season next year with better talent and getting some breaks, we are overdue.

    We WILL beat UT, either on the road this year or at home next year. I hope next year starts a streak of our own.

  • larryvaught says:

    Tana and Jauk11, you are the best recruiters that Kentucky could have. Joker or Chuck Smith could not say it any better than you

  • wildcat25 says:

    Its just hard to think we will get him…dont get me wrong i would love it but you gotta think he will stay in the sec but not with us..im guessin ut or florida just because those coaches will hit on the fact the both those teams have plus 20 yr consecutive streaks on us and all we say is we got em this years….i know i have been sayin it about 10 yrs about ut and i think tyler bray will exploit our weak secondary to make it 26

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