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 veteran 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…