Overcoming Adversity: An Inside Look at Temple OT Dion Dawkins

This article was written by Taylor Lewis (Twitter: @_TayLew). 

Temple OT Dion Dawkins gets his team pumped up prior to a contest in 2015. (Photo: (Twitter, Dion Dawkins))

PHILADELPHIA-- Senior offensive lineman Dion Dawkins came to Temple four years ago as a de-commit from Cincinnati and was initially listed as a two-star defensive lineman who head coach Matt Rhule “took a chance on” That unknown profile, of a kid from Rahway High (N.J.), has taken a complete 180-degree turn going into his Dawkins few collegiate regular season games.

In his time since coming to Temple, the 6-5, 318-pound Dawkins has played in 40 games for the Owls, battling through injury and overcoming adversity.

Now, Dawkins is currently the heart and soul of the offensive line for Temple. This is an o-line that has allowed for Temple to be ranked 54th in the NCAA in rushing, averaging over 180+ yards per game, and has opened gaps to create 22 rushing touchdowns for the Owls in 2016, helping the Owls to bowl eligibility for a third straight season.

In addition to the team accolades that Dawkins has played a key role in, the Rahway, New Jersey-native is currently being regarded as a potential early round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, is in talks with countless NFL scouts, and has the likes of Mel Kiper Jr. projecting him as a potential first-round draft pick.

“If I buy into my coaching and everything that they’re (coaches) telling me 100 percent, then I should have the outcome that they are preaching,” said Dawkins when asked what his thoughts were on all the lofty NFL expectations following Tuesday’s Temple practice.

Temple senior OT Dion Dawkins (Photo: 247Sports)

“Buying into the coaching” is one of Dawkins key elements in his recipe for success. Dawkins realizes that it is crucial to not only his success, but also the team’s success, that he focuses on the task at hand: help the Owls win out and play for a American Athletic Conference title.

“I just focus on the current day,” said Dawkins about balancing NFL buzz with the current season. “Coach (Matt Rhule) is branded in a mindset of being 1-0 everyday here.”

Dawkins has always had a passion for the game, and it is clear that he is willing to put in all the time and effort that it takes to be the best.

“I must win. I have to be great at everything, and if I’m not, what do I have to do to change in order to be great at it?” said Dawkins when asked about how he handles himself going into his last few games as a Temple Owl.

Prior to the 2016 season, Dawkins had some legal issues that forced him and teammate Haason Reddick to sit out of spring practices and drills due to a three-month suspension. He called these legal issues “perfectly fine” and “another test in his life,” but more than that, it affected his ability to play football.

“I live right across the street (from the practice facility), and I would literally watch practice from my window every morning,” said Dawkins. “Some days, I would sit there and tear up. Like wow, just that fast, it could all be gone. I was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. And it all really hits you."

It is clear that through his desire to be involved with the team while suspended, his work ethic both on and off the field, and the force of an offensive lineman he has become, that Dawkins is a next-level player and character for the Owls.

It’s worth adding that Dawkins is a next-level player and character who might just find himself hearing his name called in the first round of the NFL Draft come next April, right here in Philadelphia.

Our Latest Stories