LRU Spotlight: Interview with 2019 NFL Draft Prospect, Antonio Dawkins

Antonio Dawkins is a very versatile defender for Bluefield College, showing playing expertise all throughout the secondary. Last season, he allowed just 13 total catches, accumulating a team-leading seven PBUs to go with 27 tackles — three coming for a loss. He regularly showcases great pursuit toward ball-carriers and displays an aptitude for defending the jump-ball.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Antonio, during which time he more about his background, his personality, and his love for the sport of football.

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When did you first fall in love with football?
I fell in love with football when I was young around 6-7. Playing football in the neighborhood with the older kids is what started up my love for the game.
Growing up, who was your role model in the sport, and who was your role model outside of it?
My sports role model growing up was Allen Iverson, I’ve always considered him to be the greatest athlete of all time in my eyes. Outside of sports I really looked up to my brother, Keem Odoms. Coming up I wanted to do everything he did, I thought he was the coolest dude alive.
What is the most inspirational or powerful thing a coach has ever said to you?
The most powerful thing a coach said to me was when Coach Bill Geiler, my high school defensive coordinator, looked me in my eyes and told me straight up “You can make it, you’re going to make it, but you can’t let your situation and environment determine your future, focus son. It’s all on you.” To me it was powerful because at that time in my life I didn’t even think I would graduate high school. Me and my family was going through so much that I felt like giving up. He brought me back to the light.
What is your biggest strength? Your biggest weakness?
My biggest strengths are my technique, my speed, and anticipation. What I am focused on working on is staying low, more technique, and the little things like foot placement and removing all false steps from my game.
Which current or former NFL player do you think you resemble and why?
There are a few people in the NFL that are where I want to be: Casey Hayward, Nickel Robey-Coleman, Tyrann Mathieu, Brent Grimes, Darrelle Revis, Chris Harris Jr. and a few others. All of these guys have the ability to play anywhere on the field. With me being a DB, I like guys that are versatile. All of the guys I named are great examples of what to be on the field.
What are your expectations for yourself entering your senior year?
Entering my senior season I’m looking forward to becoming a 1st team All-American, receiving 1st team All-Conference, Defensive player of the year, winning the Cliff Harris award, and leading the nation in Interception and also Pass deflections.
If an NFL scout were to walk up to you and give you 10 seconds to sell yourself, what would you say?
If an NFL scout gives me 10 seconds to sell myself I would tell them that I am unstoppable, not physically but mentally. I’ve been through so much it’s no way I’ll let anyone or anything stop me from being great.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In 5 years I see myself as a veteran playing in the NFL, entrepreneur, business owner, and doing lots of charity/foundation work to help the young kids and those in poverty.
What is one of the most important things about you off the field that makes you a better player on it?
One of the most important things about me off the field that helps me on the field is my willing to give my all to give my all and my willing to do anything for my loved ones. It’s the same on the field, for my teammates I’ll do anything.
You can check out Antonio’s highlights here. We wish him the best of luck in his senior year!

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