May 7, 2012

Dawson 'shaping up'

Incoming freshman Josh Dawson can't wait to get to Athens and a former Georgia defensive standout is making sure he's ready.

"I've been working with Bruce Adrine, he's one of my mentors," Dawson told UGASports. "We've been meeting four times a week, going through pass-rush drills, working on footwork and working on other drills, so when I get to campus I'll be able to hit the ground running."

It's not like Adrine and Dawson haven't worked together before.

Actually, the two already have a long history with one another. Adrine serves as the defensive line coach of Tucker High, Dawon's soon-to-be alma mater, and they know each other as well as anybody could.

But while past lessons have revolved around doing what it takes to help Tucker, Dawson's recent meetings with Adrine have focused on what he needs to do to get ready for Georgia

"Bruce is always giving me keys, like what to expect from college life and the things I need to do once I get there," Dawson said. "We talk about how to act when I'm around the other players, especially when you're a freshman and to be ready to show the coaches that you're ready. Plus, make sure I come into camp in great shape."

He's apparently already got that part covered.

After weighing 225 pounds back on Signing Day, Dawson said he's currently up to 236 - all muscle.

"I'm in the best shape I've ever been," said Dawson, who arrives in Athens early next month somewhere between 235 and 240 pounds and at least put himself in position to earn early playing time come fall.

When he does, Will linebacker will be his home.

"I feel like at Will I'll be able to use my strengths, which is rushing the passer, but also dropping back in coverage in the flats," Dawson said. "It's the position I was raised on and what I was taught to do - to rush the passer and be good in run defense."

Dawson added that he could also play some defensive end in Georgia's nickel set.

Apparently defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has confidence in Dawson, along with Jordan Jenkins, Josh Harvey-Clemons, James DeLoach and Leonard Floyd, other incoming freshmen slated to get looks at outside linebacker.

In the spring, Grantham started working returnees Ray Drew and Cornelius Washington at defensive end, hinting at the confidence he has that his new students will be able to help bolster the team's depth.

"It's going to be an opportunity to show Coach (Grantham) that I'm going to be ready my first year," Dawson said. "It shows he has a lot of respect for me and has confidence in me. I've just got to try and make plays."

Dawson's already getting an early look of what he's got in store.

As he's done with the rest of the defensive signees, Grantham has given Dawson a version of the team's defensive book to do some early studying - a lot of studying.

"That thing's pretty big," Dawson said. "That's a lot of information I have so soak in."

But Dawson remains confident he will.

The one-time Vanderbilt commit who decided to become a Bulldog, said he couldn't be happier with the opportunity that lies before him.

"I feel like everything went well," he said. "I have no regrets."