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Dawson achieves his goal, signs with UNA

When Caleb Dawson was an eighth grader at Goshen High, head football coach Bart Snyder and defensive coordinator Mike Wilcoxin explained to the promising young athlete that if he put his mind to it, he could be more than just a star player for the Eagles. If he saw the big picture, he could play football on Saturdays.

Wednesday afternoon Dawson achieved his goal, as he signed a scholarship to play college football for the University of North Alabama, a Division I program in Florence.

“Coach Snyder told me that I could play varsity football as an eighth grader if I put my mind to it,” said Dawson. “Coach Mike told me he was going to turn me into a D1 prospect by the time I left high school, and he did. He told me I had to change my attitude and the direction that I was going, and become a football player and give my all to football, and put the team first and there were going to be people just as good as me. I was a small fish in a big pond in thinking that I was the best at Goshen. I had to be the best all around.”

Coach Snyder saw the potential in Dawson, a 6-1, 200 pound linebacker, not only as a ballplayer, but as a leader.

“Caleb has been a player for us since the eighth grade, and he has developed into being a great leader,” said Coach Snyder. “He was a dual athlete on offense and defense. All of this stuff leading up to this day is because of the teammates he has had, from when he was in the seventh grade all the way up until today, as he ends his career at Goshen.

“As Caleb and I were driving back from Dothan today, he contributed much of the success to the teammates before, the teammates he has had this past year, and to his classmates. That’s a tribute to where he is today also to his parents, and to his classmates and teammates.”

Dawson was on the radar of several football programs, receiving offers and interest from six or seven by his count, including the University of South Alabama, Navy, Mercer and Campbell.

“It was mighty stressful, the whole recruiting process, and I finally reached a definite answer on where I wanted to go in North Alabama,” said Dawson. “They made me feel at home and I love their coaching staff. It just has been a good process, and I’m ready for the future.

“I love playing linebacker, that was my first choice, my first position that I really loved. I like running back, but I like giving the hit more than getting hit. I will definitely be adding weight and size and that will definitely help me.”

The senior was attractive to college football recruiters not only because of his athletic build and talents, but his success in the classroom. Dawson has already completed two years in the Business and Finance Academy within the Pike County School System, meaning he will walk onto the campus on his first day at the University of North Alabama only two years shy of receiving his degree.

“That speaks highly of him,” said Coach Snyder. “He is a dual enrollment student, and is going to leave Goshen not only with a high school degree but an associate degree as well. He has completed two years and can possibly work on his masters degree before he graduates within four years.

“North Alabama is signing him as a linebacker, and they are excited and consider Caleb to be one of their top recruits. He is going to disappoint some larger schools that did not take him. He’s got that kind of talent.”