Five years ago, the only Football Bowl Subdivision team that offered Dakota Dozier a scholarship was Buffalo, and he’s still a little bit miffed about it.
“Absolutely, I feel like I was passed up on a lot,” he said. “I knew that I was capable of playing with anybody, and I feel I showed that on film.”
He clearly did. The West Columbia native and Furman graduate is spending this week at the NFL Combine, where he is one of 50 offensive linemen being evaluated by professional scouts, coaches and general managers.
“I definitely feel like I will be drafted,” Dozier said. “I don’t care where it is. I am going to get there and work as hard as I can from day one and try to get on the field as fast as I can.”
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Dozier, a 6-foot-4, 315 pounder who plays the cello and won the Southern Conference’s Jacobs Blocking Award this year, played at Brookland-Cayce High School, but “nobody really got recruited from my high school,” he said. He received his invitation to the combine the same day he got his degree from Furman – Dec. 13.
“It was a pretty great day,” he said.
Dozier played most of his college career as a tackle, but he projects as a guard at the professional level. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock ranks him the fifth-best guard in this year’s draft class.
“I have him as a fourth round pick,” Mayock said. “I really, really like him.”
Upward mobility. After one season in the NFL, former South Carolina wide receiver Ace Sanders is headed in the right direction, Jacksonville general manager David Caldwell said Thursday.
“We really feel like going into next year the arrow is pointing up on him,” Caldwell said.
Sanders caught 51 passes for 484 yards and one touchdown as a rookie for the Jaguars in 2013. He returned 25 punts and averaged 5.6 yards per return.
“He’s a great kid. He’s got tremendous work ethic. He’s got incredible hands,” Caldwell said. “We feel like he could take a step up and be our answer in the slot position and as a punt returner.”
History of The Hit. The play that never goes away came up again here Thursday when Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, one of this year’s top offensive linemen, was asked if he is sick of seeing replays of The Hit.
“I am not sick of it at all,” Lewan said. “You can only control what you can control. That was not my fault. I hate saying it like that, but he just wasn’t blocked.
Regardless of if he was blocked or not, it was a hell of a hit.”
“He” of course is former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who crushed Wolverines running back Vincent Smith during the Outback Bowl following the 2012 season, forcing and recovering a game-changing fumble. Prior to that play, Lewan played well against Clowney.
“I feel I played one of my best games against him,” Lewan said.