Mike Dawson laughing
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Mike Dawson Back Into Swing of Things

March 22, 2020

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

When Nebraska re-hired Mike Dawson, familiarity with the staff and Lincoln played a role. It’s been a whirlwind of a year-plus stretch for Dawson. He’s sold two homes in the last 14 months. Taking a shot in the NFL with the New York Giants and then returning to Nebraska in a year is a lot of moving around.

Nebraska went through everything and “tightened the loop” during the offseason, according to defensive coordinator Erik Chinander. There were install tweaks and preparation changes to help the program move forward. The Nebraska staff did consult with people they knew in the NFL and at other colleges to help facilitate the changes. With the whole coaching staff doing this, it was nice to not have to go over the team’s verbiage with Dawson since he was already up to speed.

While he’s coaching a different position at Nebraska this time—he was originally the defensive line coach before returning to coach outside linebackers—Dawson has been able to jump right back in where he left off on the recruiting trail too. Sure, the different position creates some new focuses but those relationships remained strong in his recruiting territory. 

“Some of the guys that I have long-standing relationships with, especially in the northeast in New Jersey and New York and stuff, they were kind of giggling, ‘You’re back again.’ There’s a little bit of [whip-lash], but it’s like riding a bike,” Dawson said. “You get back on it and you keep on going.”

As Dawson told reporters on the first day of spring practice, he did keep up with the Huskers during his time away. He tried to watch the games on television and listened on the radio. Since he’s bounced back and forth, he has a unique perspective on how recruiting has gone since Coach Scott Frost took over the program.

“I think that first class we were kind of transitioning from UCF to here,” Dawson said. “That was a little difference because we brought in a little different type of recruit than if we had a full recruiting cycle. That started changing in the next cycle and led up to this past class.”

Dawson knows that just like every other school they have to keep pounding the trail to get the best prospects they can get that fit Nebraska. It will be a storyline to watch as we learn a bit more about which type of outside linebacker recruits Dawson prefers. It’ll be especially interesting considering his experience coaching both the defensive line and outside linebackers. 

Recruit Watch

>> Mikai Gbayor, one of Dawson’s outside linebacker targets, released his top eight over the weekend and the Huskers made the cut.

>> Kansas running back Devin Neal committed to Kansas. Neal visited Nebraska back in January. 

>> Georgia inside linebacker Baron Hopson narrowed down his choices to eight and has the Huskers on his list. 


>> I gave my five thoughts on what the commitment of Chris Paul Jr. means for the Huskers. (Premium)

>> The Husker Attic is back to take a look at the ‘Go Big Red’ cookbook.

>> Jacob Padilla took a look at Nebraska basketball’s JUCO transfers in his basketball review. (Premium)

>> I wrote about the interesting mix of players that are eager to prove it on the 2020 defensive line. 

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