Sheldon Dawson (2) and Damian Swann (5) begin Spring practice as the Bulldog's prospective starting cornerbacks
March 7, 2013
ATHENS---Sheldon Dawson knows how big his opportunity is this spring. With the graduation of cornerback stalwart Sanders Commings, Dawson finds himself the heir apparent to take on the position. While Georgia has only conducted two spring practices, the rising sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., has joined Damian Swann on the practice fields as the Bulldog’s starting cornerbacks.
For Dawson, who saw limited action in 13 games last season recording 12 tackles, working with the prospective starting unit has created a very different spring environment to his first.
“This spring to me is moving faster by me being out there with the starters. When I first came in last year I came in knowing that I was a freshman and that I had to learn and I was overwhelmed by a lot of stuff. This year I’m calling plays, it’s all coming together and when you know it, it just moves fast anyway,” Dawson said. “It’s been pretty good playing with all of the guys out there, it’s real crazy that all of us either came in with each other or they came in the year before us and were in our spot last year. Us being on the same field and working together is an amazing thing.”
With the Bulldogs losing multiple starters and impact players from their 2011 and 2012 SEC Eastern Division winning defense, Dawson is one of the new faces expected to make an impact for Georgia in 2013. The former Rivals.com and ESPN three-star recruit believes that his increased level of comfort in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s system has been an important factor at the start of spring practice.
“I feel comfortable in many ways, both on the field and off the field. Off the field I feel comfortable and more confident because I hit the weight room hard, my numbers went up tremendously on everything I did. On the field playing behind guys like Swann and Sanders last year, I learned so much and now I’ve just got to perfect it or get as close to it as possible. By me working and learning and continuing to try and get better, good is going to come from it.”
Dawson had the opportunity his freshman season to study Georgia’s large number of seniors amongst the secondary. This group included Commings, Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams. It is because of the tutelage and guidance of these older players that Dawson feels so comfortable going into spring practice and the 2013 season.
“Since the day I came in everybody on the defense took me under their wing, from the safeties to the corners because our secondary is still a family so by them taking me under their wing last year every step of the way they helped me off the field and on the field. Sometimes I’d go to their houses, watch film and break stuff down. Just being shown little key things that’ll help in the future,” Dawson said. “I’m using so much of that, especially the stuff I learned from Sanders and Swann, I’m using so much of that on the field. It’s crazy that they told me once that playing with the starters would happen and now it’s happening. By me just following in their footsteps, trying to get better and try to be as great as them that makes me get better and I can feel myself getting better.”