Byrnes wide receiver Chavis Dawkins is such a big South Carolina fan that he skipped a high school practice his junior year to attend the Gamecocks’ opener and was benched for the Rebels’ game the next day. Dawkins will have no problem attending USC games moving forward after signing with South Carolina on Wednesday.
The Shrine Bowl selection committed to the Gamecocks Jan. 22 after being offered by USC the previous day. He was set to commit to N.C. State before receiving a late offer from South Carolina.
“It was stressful. The whole process was stressful,” Dawkins said. “But at the end of the day I made the right decision.”
Dawkins’ high school coach, Brian Lane, said South Carolina is getting a good player and a good person in Dawkins.
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“He loves the game of football, plays it hard, is a very strong athlete and a smart kid, too,” Lane told The State. “He’s got excellent ball skills and excellent hands, and his knowledge of the game is high. He’s got a very high football IQ. South Carolina is getting a really good player.”
Dawkins is a big receiver at 6-2, 200 pounds, but he still has the size to separate from defenders.
He was among the leading receivers in the state this season, finishing with 73 catches for 1,319 yards and 17 touchdowns.
“He’s going to surprise people with his speed,” Lane said. “He’s very smooth the way he runs. He’s a 4.4 guy. He’s going to surprise people with how strong he is and how fast he is.”
Perhaps Dawkins’ most impressive game of the year came against Mallard Creek, a team from Charlotte that was ranked No. 7 in the nation at the time.
Mallard Creek was loaded with Div. I talent, but Dawkins caught touchdowns passes of 62, 47 and 78 yards on the Rebels’ first three offensive plays of the game.
Dawkins finished with four catches for 210 yards and three scores, leading Byrnes to a 31-29 upset victory.
“That game was big for me. It gave me a lot of confidence,” Dawkins said.
A strong performance in the Shrine Bowl also served as a confidence boost. Dawkins led the South Carolina team with six catches for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think I bring a lot of different things, big, physical, fast,” Dawkins said. “I’m going to try to get out there and start.”