This is the latest installment of the “Next Up” series, which profiles the football signees from South Carolina’s 2016 class. SEC Country traveled around the Southeast to visit the recruits before they reported to campus.
DUNCAN, S.C. — Chavis Dawkins is excited to follow in the footsteps of Marcus Lattimore and Nick Jones.
Before moving on to South Carolina, Lattimore and Jones starred at Byrnes High School, blazing a trail that Dawkins will follow to Columbia.
“I just remember nobody could beat them,” Dawkins said. “They were just that good … they were really good.”
The duo played on some good South Carolina teams, too. Dawkins, who grew up rooting for the Gamecocks, has plenty of fond memories.
“When Nick Jones caught that one touchdown against Missouri, that was pretty good,” he said. “The game against Georgia, Marcus had three touchdowns or something like that, and 200 yards.”
Byrnes coach Brian Lane thinks Dawkins has the ability to make his mark at South Carolina.
“I think he’s going to be a special recruit,” Lane said. “I think Carolina did a great job by coming in late on him. He had several offers, but his heart was here at Carolina, from the jump … when they offered him late, he jumped right on it, so it was good for him and good for South Carolina.”
South Carolina offered on Friday, Jan. 9, about 30 hours before he was scheduled to announce his commitment to North Carolina State.
“That whole night, I didn’t go to sleep until like 3 o’clock, because I was up thinking about everything,” he said. “Then, Saturday, got up, ate, talked with my family a lot … around 5ish, I called North Carolina State, I was going to commit to them, so I called them and said, ‘South Carolina offered me. I’m going to stay home.’
“At that point, I was happy.”
Listed at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, the 3-star recruit was ranked as the No. 134 wide receiver in the class of 2016.
“He’s very big. He’s a big kid, powerful kid with surprising speed,” Lane said. “He’s got tremendous speed that a lot of people don’t understand. He’ll get out there and run really fast … he can fly.”
With only a handful of wide receivers returning in 2016, Lane believes Dawkins has a shot to make an early impact for the Gamecocks.
“I know he’s going to compete. As he tries to compete, hopefully he can get in there and try to play. I don’t think he’s got the mindset of redshirting,” Lane said. “I tell him, whatever they want to do with you, but he’s going to get in there and compete. That’s what he’s going to do.”
Dawkins is used to it. That’s a significant part of the culture around the Byrnes program.
“We work a lot, like every day during the summer we’re up here,” he said. “After we lost last year in the semifinals, we had a week break. Then, the next week, we started working for next year.
“It just taught me to not be lazy, work for what you want. It’s a good place to be, football-wise, and for learning the game.”
THE NEXT UP SERIES
- Family support has propelled South Carolina RB signee to stardom, back home
- Wonnum looks forward to opportunity at South Carolina
- Relationship with McClendon paved Davis’ way to South Carolina
- Tucker will bring “never-say-quit” attitude to South Carolina
- For South Carolina QB signee, football is indeed a family affair
- South Carolina’s new DE is just as comfortable discussing bull markets as he is a bull rush
- Samoa native looks forward to life in the SEC
- Focusing on football paid off for elite South Carolina DT signee Stephon Taylor
- New South Carolina CB JaMarcus King almost quit football after losing mom to cancer
- Why some people thought South Carolina DL signee was ‘psychic’