- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
While 25 top quarterbacks from the 2013 recruiting class spent the weekend in California showcasing their skills at the Elite 11 finals, a talented Los Angeles area quarterback in the 2014 class took the opportunity to head across the country to visit two traditional powers.
Brandon Dawkins (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) and several family members had an opportunity to take in the sights this past weekend at Tennessee and Alabama. The visit to Tennessee was his first trip to a college campus that came complete with a tour and opportunity to meet a college coaching staff, and the 6-foot-3, 199-pound quarterback was impressed.
“It surpassed my expectations,” Dawkins said. “It was really great out there.”
There was a thought from Dawkins heading into the trip that a scholarship offer from the Volunteers could happen, but he wasn’t disappointed at walking away without one. He said getting a sense of the campus, the environment and the academic support system was well worth the trip. He also understands that it likely won’t be the last time he hears from the Tennessee staff.
“I’m going to be one of the top quarterbacks that they want to offer,” Dawkins said. “It was cool of them to say that. If they don’t offer soon, then I think they definitely will during the season.”
After the Tennessee visit, Dawkins made his way to Alabama, where he attended a camp last year, following his freshman season. His father was born and raised in Alabama and grew up a fan of the Crimson Tide, so Dawkins was certainly aware of the rivalry between his two visit destinations and he said the coaches at both schools couldn’t help but comment on his travel choices. But Dawkins left Alabama with a positive feeling as well.
“It’s a cool campus,” Dawkins said. “I knew about it already from the camp last year, but this time they took me through the athletic building and the weight room, and I got to see how things run there.”
Dawkins said the only disappointing thing about his Alabama visit was the fact that head coach Nick Saban wasn’t on campus. He was able to meet with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier, however, and received some positive feedback.
“He told me that he’s really interested in me, and it was up to him, he would have offered me a few months ago,” Dawkins said. “But it has to go through coach Saban first, and he’s the kind of coach that wants to take it slow. But I’ll definitely be highly recruited by them.”
Another school that could enter the mix for Dawkins is Colorado. The quarterback said he has been in contact with the Buffaloes staff and will attend their camp Saturday in San Diego.
“The coach said he wants to see me throw live,” Dawkins said. “They are really interested in me, so hopefully I get an offer there this weekend.”