CB Duke Dawson, Florida

5’11” – 197 lbs. – 4.46

Started one game at safety out of eleven games played as a true freshman, then appeared in all fourteen games the following year. As a junior, started seven of twelve games played as the team’s nickel cornerback, then all eleven games at corner the following season. Somewhat squatty, thickly-built cornerback who lines up all over the field, usually in press-man looks; plays both inside and outside, typically on the boundary. Didn’t show any tendency toward field-side or boundary. Does a good job of getting low, matching his opponent’s release with quick feet at the line of scrimmage, and using his hands to disrupt opponents. Looks good when using his frame to pin opponents to the boundary and run with them down the sidelines. Able to match up against bigger receivers because of his overall strength and physicality. A little bit less impressive in man coverage over the middle of the field; gives up some separation out of breaks and has some trouble navigating through congested areas. Not the twitchiest player and offers windows on timing throws which are somewhat longer than normal. Susceptible to pick plays and double moves. Can get grabby when beat and may be prone to penalties. Also plays a fair amount of zone; defensive role typically involved making shallow drops from press looks and lurking near the line of scrimmage. Seems to have adequate ball skills to capitalize on opportunities for interceptions; picked off four passes this season and one as a sophomore. Has good instincts to play the run, as well as a desirable temperament for those responsibilities; diagnoses quickly and looks willing to come up and make plays in support. Has the strength and hand use to play off of blocks, funneling runners inside and shedding in time to make tackles. However, tackling technique leaves something to be desired; more physical than fundamentally sound, and can lapse into hitting instead of wrapping up. Nonetheless, can help to set the tone defensively. Not the biggest, quickest, or most explosive cornerback, but offers a thick frame, a physical, competitive style of play, and good instincts to play the run. His experience playing in the slot as a junior and on occasion as a senior may offer him an earlier route onto the field than some of the outside-only cornerbacks in the class, although he may have a somewhat lower ceiling than some of the more athletic man-cover prospects.

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