The top rated player in the state of Tennessee on 247Sports is Memphis (Tenn.) Ridgeway athlete Sheldon Dawson. The Top247 prospect has been regarded as one of the top steals in the nation for Memphis ever since his commitment to the Tigers back in July. Despite his commitment to the Conference USA program several schools have continued to pursue the two-way threat and recent news suggests that that interest will only heat up.
Sheldon Dawson could play cornerback or receiver on the next level.
On Sunday, reports emerged that Memphis would fire head coach Larry Porter following a 2-10 season in 2011. Porter’s job security has been shaky throughout the fall but Memphis has landed multiple highly touted recruits despite the question marks. Dawson, the No. 15 athlete in the country, has been the headliner.
On Sunday Dawson reacted to the news of Porter’s dismissal.
“It’s just business and it’s how it goes I guess,” Dawson said. “I don’t really know what I’m going to do right now. It was a surprise to me.”
As of yet Dawson has not backed off of his commitment to his hometown program but admitted that Larry Porter was a major reason for his decision.
“As of now, I’m still committed to Memphis but [Larry Porter] was a major piece as to why I committed,” he said. “But I’m still committed.”
Dawson has always maintained that he would take all of his official visits and that plan has not changed with the latest news on Porter. Currently he lists Tennessee, Georgia, Cincinnati and Vanderbilt as the schools that have been working hardest to maintain on Dawson’s radar.
Ridgeway completed a successful 7-3 regular season before losing in the third round of the playoffs. Dawson played wide receiver, running back, kick returner and cornerback for his squad. The 5-11, 180-pounder likely projects to defensive back at the next level but brings value to several positions.
Expert take: I would expect Dawson to back off of his Memphis commitment at some point with the departure of Larry Porter but it is still to be seen as to who would be the leader if that were to happen. Tennessee made a strong push prior to Dawson’s commitment to the Tigers and Derek Dooley’s staff has not backed off. Cincinnati has also been recruiting the versatile athlete as well as anyone. Vanderbilt and Georgia will both be looking to get Dawson on campus to move forward in the race.