Offensive guard David Dawson, who would be a fifth year senior at Michigan this fall, is seeking a graduate transfer elsewhere. He announced Monday via Twitter that he would be leaving.
Dawson attended Detroit (MI) Cass Tech, transferred to Texas for his junior year, and then returned to Cass Tech as a senior. He committed to Michigan in February 2012 as a part of the 2013 class, decommitted, and then later recommitted to the Wolverines. In fact, he broke Brady Hoke’s infamous “no visit” policy when he took a recruiting trip to Florida while committed to Michigan, so the coaching staff moved on without him. Eventually, fences were mended and he was “re-offered.”
I took a lot of flak for my thoughts on Dawson when he committed (LINK). You can see there that I was not fond of his abilities, and people were annoyed in the comments. My Twitter mentions weren’t a happy place, either. I gave him a TTB Rating of 71 (at the low end of being an eventual solid starter), and even that was generous. I didn’t see great bend in him, nor did I see a lot of nastiness in his play. Those things seemed to play out at Michigan, as well. He played in twelve career games without ever starting, and when he did play, he did not excel. He played in just three games as a backup in 2016, though an arm injury in the spring hampered him somewhat.
You’ll also see in the link above that I was afraid Michigan would fill up in the 2013 class without having room for the likes of Ethan Pocic. In fact, Pocic was turned away by Michigan and ended up signing with LSU. How did Pocic’s career go in Baton Rouge? He was First Team All-SEC in 2016, Second Team All-SEC in 2015, and started for his entire sophomore year after backup duty as a freshman. He’s considered to be one of the top couple center prospects in the 2017 draft. Imagine if Michigan had an all-conference center the past couple seasons to free up Mason Cole or Graham Glasgow to help at tackle or guard. Considering Michigan lost three games by a total of five points this season, it’s not inconceivable that it could have put Michigan in the playoff, if not at 12-0 in the regular season.
The loss of Dawson should not affect the team much in 2017. He was not expected to start, and he probably would not have been a key backup, either. He was obviously passed on the depth chart by the likes of freshman Ben Bredeson, classmate Patrick Kugler, sophomore Grant Newsome, redshirt sophomore Juwann Bushell-Beatty, and others. Next year’s starting interior could very well be Bredeson, center Mason Cole, and rising sophomore Michael Onwenu. With some highly rated recruits coming in and with some other promising young players, Dawson would have been battling just to be second string.
Michigan has 87 scholarship players scheduled for the fall of 2017 (LINK), so I expect some more departures. Quarterback Shane Morris and long snapper Scott Sypniewski have already begun seeking grad transfers, too.