Noah Dawkins isn't afraid of the potential competition at the NFL level. In high school, The Citadel linebacker played at national power Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes and was on national television frequently, and last fall, he went toe to toe with Alabama as he and the Bulldogs held their own and gave Nick Saban fits on behalf of the FCS level. Nothing intimidates him.[divider]
PROSPECTS BY FCS CONFERENCE: The list[divider]
He has impressed all of his career, and this week turned some heads again when well-known ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his final Top 300 "big board" and Dawkins was on it. Dawkins' reaction? Cool, calm and collected — steady. Like a typical cadet at the military-based college he attends, he's disciplined — just like when he's on the field and has a myriad of reads and decisions to make.
"With us going to a school like The Citadel, one thing NFL teams don't have to worry about is any off the field issues, because if we had any off the field issues, at our school it's a one-strike system,' Dawkins told HERO Sports on Friday. "That's one thing."
When asked who talks to him the most, Dawkins chose to keep the interested team "list" private, as many prospects do, but consider this — he ran a 4.41-second official time in the 40-yard dash, with a tweaked hamstring. If he'd done that at the NFL Combine as an "EDGE" (OLB/DE) it would have tied him for the No. 1 time with his position group. And he was injured.
"The first thing that's always mentioned (with scouts) is my speed," Dawkins said. "I have an eye for the quarterback and I'm pretty instinctive, I know where the ball's going. With that 4.41, I pulled my left hamstring and still ran that time. The week before my Pro Day, I ran a 4.37. After I ran that time, I didn't do the 3-cone or shuttle. I did try to do the position drills. Luckily it was a mild strain and I was back running full speed within five to six days."
Speed is a serious, serious plus for Dawkins — and we all know speed is a meal ticket to the NFL.
Coming out of Byrnes HS, he held only two scholarship offers — The Citadel and fellow FCS team South Carolina State. Today, he may have more NFL team options than he had college options several years ago, and there's a chance he also could be drafted.
Today, he could very well know which NFL colors he'll wear in a few weeks in minicamp, and he'll also take a final exam. He will graduate soon after.
"Obviously this states that I've put in the work at The Citadel," Dawkins said. "It clearly states than in high school, those 'star' ratings don't matter and at the end of the day, if you're good enough, they'll find you."