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Remember Lamar Dawson? Brace Yourselves

(Thanks to a KSR radio show caller, I was reminded of Dawson yesterday)


Remember Lamar Dawson? He was one of the most heralded high school football prospects to come out of the state of Kentucky in recent memory. The linebacker from Boyle County was rated as a 5-star/4-star (depending on the scouting service), a somewhat rare occurrence for a Kentucky kid. Joker Phillips and his staff were unable to haul in the home state talent. Instead Dawson elected to make the journey across the country to attend USC.


You know all of this already. Chances are you cringed almost a year ago when Dawson pulled the trigger to join the Trojans. What you might not be aware of is just how much of an impact Lamar Dawson has already had in his time as a USC Trojan. With highly rated football prospects, sometimes a super talent out of high school can be a bust. We’ve seen a few 4-star players underperform at the University of Kentucky. We’ve also seen a few 2-star players exceed expectations. Dawson has been anything but a bust though. A KSR radio show caller brought to attention yesterday the fact that Dawson had been a huge loss for the Kentucky staff, especially following his initial success and his seemingly bright future. Brace yourselves. Let me tell you just how fortunate the USC staff feels to have Lamar Dawson.


Lamar Dawson was given the number 55 entering his freshman season at USC. The number has a special significance in the program’s rich football history. It is universally understood that the player who wears that number is a great one. According to a USC fan website called “Reign of Troy,” to be a member of Club 55 means that “you are an elite, sure fire future NFL player.” Apparently Lane Kiffin gave the honor of wearing the jersey to Dawson when he arrived on campus as motivation for the young man. It only took 4 games last season for Dawson to break into the starting line-up for the Trojans and he has yet to look back since that moment.


Fresh off of probation, the USC Trojans are predicted as one of the early favorites heading into next season to compete for the national title. The return of Tee Martin’s PR rep┬áveteran quarterback Matt Barkley, along with a large number of returning starters on both sides of the ball– should be a recipe for a successful season. Lamar Dawson is expected to have a major impact in his second season as a Trojan. It only adds salt to the wound that Kentucky missed out on a talent like Dawson. If you want to pinpoint one of a number of factors that make it hard to compete in the brutal SEC, losing the top instate talent to other programs–especially those out of state– must be included. Seeing just how much of an impact Lamar Dawson is having, especially at a top tier school, is a bit painful. On a different note, it’s good to see a kid from Kentucky having success.


Stay tuned for some news at 9:30 from John Wilmhoff about the UK baseball team that should put you in a better mood…

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

47 Comments for Remember Lamar Dawson? Brace Yourselves

  1. TONE
    8:34 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    cool story. this is pointless

  2. aze
    8:34 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Ally, you are awesome on future recruiting. Kentucky kids read this website. You guys just don’t get it. Negative, negative, negative. Bash, bash, bash. True BBN people just don’t do what happens on this site, period!!!

  3. tom
    8:36 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    #1 and #2, agree. This is total stupidity. Who wouldn’t pick USC over most any school in the entire nation. This is dumb.

  4. ktmiln2
    8:37 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    2. You’ll get over it.

  5. Larry F.
    8:40 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Tell me more Larry. You have no clue what happened in this kids recruiting process. This is like saying a kid whose dad played for Louisville and has 4 season tickets should come to UK or the UK coaching staff failed. As #2 says, awesome help your story is for any good football player senior kid in Kentucky reading and considering UK.

  6. chicatgo
    8:40 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Wish Micah Johnson had done better with us…

  7. Realistic
    8:41 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Saying this is acting like the same people who get upset when kids go to Kentucky instead of their in-state school for basketball. You go where the good programs are, don’t blame the kids for that decision. We shouldn’t be worrying about what could have been, but taking the steps to build up our football program.

  8. MHFaulkner
    8:42 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    If he really is that good then he was smart to go to USC and not Kentucky.

  9. ltylerj
    8:45 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    3: Ask Anthony Bennett how easy it is to turn down the top school in their respected sport. Ask Anthony Bennett how easy it is to stay home. That comment is just dumb. Kids do this ALL the time. Football, Basketball, Lacrosse, Baseball…you name the sport, and it happens in it.

    Don’t let these fools bring you down, Ally. I liked your writing on KSR College, and I’m sure I will here as well. Keep it going. You have fans.

  10. UK fanatic
    8:47 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Live in the future, not the past. What is the hell is wrong with you guys. Get on with it. I understand you don’t like Joker, you don’t like UK football… How about a word of advice, report on something you like. Agree with all. Coulda, shoulda, woulda. Who in their right mind from Boyle County would not play at USC given that wonderful opportunity. And it is nothing negative to UK. Would you expect a kid from the USC area to play basketball at USC or would you expect them to come to UK if they were given the opportunity? No body on the UK staff lost anything. This is hard core and totally meaningless, and quite frankly shows your ignorance in reporting.

  11. KYStout
    8:47 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Seriously…WTF is the point of this post?

    “Brace Yourselves” (?)

    Are you new to Kentucky football son?

  12. Old Henry Man
    8:48 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    UK’s Football program has been beat on eoungh. Please somebody write something positive!!!

  13. Big blue 45
    8:53 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Is this a website that supports Kentucky, or did i get rerouted by mistake to the Big Orange website in Knoxville. With friends like this, who needs opposing teams. Wow. This is really a brutal, uncalled for post. I think you were the same guy that posted an empty stadium before the Blue-White game weren’t you Ally. Obviously, you have limited knowledge on reporting or understanding sports.

  14. MAC
    8:53 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Good for him. Going to USC was a better career move on his part. Hopefully one day UK will have a program that attracts talent like this and helps them achieve their dreams.

  15. FourThinInches
    8:58 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Must be a heck of a lot easier tackling trash cans in the PAC 12.

  16. Ally Tucker
    9:00 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I guess I don’t see this as negatively as some. I thought it was an interesting fact brought up by a radio show caller yesterday that he was chosen to wear #55. Didn’t know the story about the significance of the jersey # at USC. It’s a big honor for the kid. He’s a Kentucky kid. I would be lying if I said that I don’t feel disappointed that he ended up leaving the state of Kentucky. I hadn’t realized how much success he had in his 1st season at USC. I always think it is interesting to see how former UK targets end up doing. He has clearly done well for himself. No harm in that for him. I want good things for the UK football program. But we can probably all agree that it’s tough to see a good in-state talent leave. Anyway, sorry for those offended.

  17. FlySoup
    9:02 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    when were you planning on telling us how well he performed besides just breaking into the starting line up 4 games into the season?

  18. lambined
    9:08 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    UK’s football program is in bad shape, looks to have the worst season in recent memory this year and the AD has yet to do anything to change the long-term trajectory of its decidedly not-so-bright future. I’d rather have realistic, honest reporting that reflects this than the hilariously optimistic drivel that sometimes gets posted here. If we don’t make it known that we’re not happy with the way things are headed, we’re destined to wallow in the cellar of the SEC. While it is somewhat stating the obvious that any kid with actual football talent who goes to HS here would be absolutely insane to stay here to play in college, it’s an indictment of the current state of the football program and absolutely deserves mention on this site. I fully expect any good news concerning the program to be reported here as well, but somehow I think that’s going to be much harder to come by.

  19. Manbearpig
    9:15 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    This isn’t just kicking the dead horse, this is kicking it, urinating on it, kicking it again, taking pics of it in compromising positions then leaving it alone….ok it’s not that extreme. Can’t say I blame the kid for leaving the state and like someone else pointed out, this is like when we take a big name from another state for the basketball team. Good luck to him

  20. sc cat
    9:20 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    TOURNEY !!!!

  21. edward blue
    9:27 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    And this is the site of the Big Blue Nation. Who needs Tennessee or Duke talking bad about us. We can destroy UK football on our own website.

  22. Shocker
    9:28 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    L.A. versus Lexington. Lane versus the Joke. Not a tough decision. Until we hire back to back good coaches for football, this will continue to happen.

  23. count it
    9:38 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    #16, you didn’t realize his success. Then why is it such an issue now. If you were so worried about it, why didn’t you follow the kid?

  24. Mike in Louisville
    9:52 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Wow! What a surprise, another KSR writer who clearly did not watch college football this year and has no idea about the game itself.
    Does it really surprise you that he went to USC over Kentucky?
    Do you really think the fans were all that surprised he went to the USC Trojans over Kentucky?
    I really appreciate all the Googling you did about the number 55 tradition at USC, something tells me you had no clue about it.
    I just wish this site, if it’s going to write about football, would have someone who actually watches the games “report” on it.
    But hey, some people on this site seem to think Tommy Tuberville had a terrible 10 year career at Auburn.

  25. SeattleCat
    9:58 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    kid is smart, PAC 12 is weak, less likely to get hurt
    vs LSU, Bama, UK

  26. old man
    10:03 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    With that headline, I was expecting great news…like he was transferring to UK or something. Huge let down. I guess with such a pointless article, you have to tease folks to read it.

  27. UKBlue
    10:05 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Good for this kid; if he was good enough to play & be a great player at a school with USC history, he had absolutely no business playing football at UK. It’s the same as a great player coming to play basketball at UK verses going somewhere else.

  28. Tom Sellecks Mustache
    10:06 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    #6 I’ve always believed Micah played the wrong position throughout college. The kid was built to play Defensive End. When he worked out for the draft and was 270+ lbs with under 10% body fat, that should be a sign that body is made for the DE position. I understand he wanted to play LB though… oh well, another ‘what could have been’ story with UK football.

  29. SexnNursinHomes
    10:11 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I always like hearing how much my old girlfriends are getting nailed. Makes me feel reaaaaaal goood.

  30. Shaun Alexander
    10:13 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Big deal.

    Once upon a time, this Boone Co. boy was Bama’s premiere player.

  31. JBR
    11:03 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    Good post, Ally…don’t let all these idiots drinking the blue kool aid get you down…yes, this is a negative article for UK football…but guess what??? UK football is a huge negative for all of us right now, so, get ready for it, WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD haters. Joker sucks, he has no clue what he is doing, and this administration let him stay around to further sink our program..maybe they just want to start from rock bottom again. All I know is when Joker was hired, his big thing was his recruiting. Keeping kids in-state is a must, as we do not have enough big time talent to let go…FAIL. And, if Dawson had picked some other school on the high end it would have at least softened the blow…but a school with a slimeball coach and going into a few years of probation…classic.

  32. big tim
    11:21 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    dont know the point in posting this usc is a football power house most kids who get offer from there go there im really getting sick of ksr all they do is talk negative about football cause they dont know anything about football other then watching it on tv and see what the score is

  33. HeyMatt
    11:57 pm May 12, 2012 Permalink

    I wonder if Alabama has said the same thing about UK getting Cousins and Bledsoe, cause this is very similar. His coaches said the kid all along had bigger programs in mind and UK did a great job staying in the hunt as long as they did. He never wanted to stay in state, and you can’t blame the program for not getting him, the reality is that there is almost No coach out there that could have gotten him to UK.

  34. blueTexan
    12:25 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Joker couldn’t recruit his Grandmother…weak story as we have a weak coach. Barnfart can leave w/Joker…maybe even share a U-Haul trailer…

  35. Cuzthereaintno4's
    12:34 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    My god people leave Ally alone. It’s a good story about a Kentucky kid doing well… And if you wanna read nothing but fluff pieces about how UK football is gonna be back u should also start believing in Santa and chasing Unicorns!!! That’s why I like this site, its a realist’s site. If you can’t come to terms with the fact that UK’s football team and coaches are JOKES then you need to be institutionalized! Great piece Ally, I got ya back! Btw I was the caller….

  36. Copy and Paste
    1:40 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Jerry Tipton, are you there?

  37. SwedishMaffia
    3:37 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    To say UK lost him would imply UK had a realistic shot of signing the kid, which they did not. Maybe instead of spending 6 million on score boards to keep track of the losing, UK should have used it on a coaching and recruiting staff. Loosen the purse strings and bring football to Lexington.

  38. Northern KY Bill
    4:37 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Know the facts about what happened with this kid before you report crazy stories. This site has grown over the past couple of years and has become to big for its britches. You treat UK football like dirt. Is it tough times at UK football right now. No doubt. Take your microscope and take a biology class. Indeed, do true UK fans a favor. When the players report next month, leave them alone. Obviously you are a premier reason for closed football practices. Slam other teams, not the team that your website claims to represent.

  39. Rondo Rules
    5:21 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Joker likes to play favorites. That is why Joker doesn’t always have the best players on the field. Joker would have had Dawson playing third-string during his junior year.

  40. Bald Guy
    9:29 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    A football fan was not only well aware of Dawson’s success but pained by it months and months ago. This post is somewhat representative of why our school has a program headed for compost. There really are two different fanbases that follow the University of Kentucky and I am proud to be in the one that cares about Football.

  41. Bash
    10:40 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    So a teenage kid decided to go to a powerhouse football team in SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, will be starting as a sophmore, and have a chance at a national title and a better spotlight for showcasing his talent in hopes of a NFL career. Gratz, best of luck to you and I think you made a great choice.

  42. Hilarious
    10:59 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    I know how many times 1 guy commented on this under various names.

  43. uk8659
    11:04 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    If they do not hire Minter he comes to UK!!!!! And thats a fact!!!!

  44. Johannsen
    11:05 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    Good decision Lamar. Your talent would be wasted at UK.

  45. joker smoker
    11:44 am May 13, 2012 Permalink

    15) the trash cans could out coach our staff and beat us any day. If this kid would have come to Kentucky he would have not been prepared this well or coached as well as the staff at a top tier football school. Good choice by him

  46. Northern KY Bill
    1:29 pm May 13, 2012 Permalink

    #41. Exactly the situation. More power to the kid

  47. footballfan
    4:50 pm May 13, 2012 Permalink

    This is why Kentucky is a terrrible football state. Every other college football fan in the country knew what Dawson was doing WHILE HE WAS ACTUALLY DOING IT last year. People in Kentucky have to read about it on aka kentuckysportsradio a year later before they even know. What a joke.And to the guy that said they would get him if they didn’t hire Minter…how about if Joker had made more than ONE (yes, ONE, its true) in home visit to the kid who is less than an hour drive away whereas Kiffin made several going across the country to do so???????????