USC Gamecocks Football

How senior has grown into USC’s ‘Steady Eddie’ among receivers, special teams

There might be more than one reason Chavis Dawkins is one of the unsung heroes among the South Carolina receiving corps.

First off, he does all the little things that go unnoticed on the stat sheet. The senior from Byrnes High School in Duncan hasn’t produced the eye-popping receiving numbers that will earn post-season recognition or invites to the NFL Combine.

But ask any member of the coaching staff and they will tell you just how valuable Dawkins has been this season.

“He does all the dirty work as far as blocking,” head coach Will Muschamp said after Dawkins made his third start and was named a captain for the 20-17 double-overtime win over then-No. 3 Georgia. “He’s been an outstanding member of our special teams unit, one of our core guys on special teams that continues to produce week in and week out. We’ve been really pleased with how he’s played.”

Running back Tavien Feaster has also noticed.

“He’s the guy when you turn on the tape, you know, he might not catch 100 balls a year, but he’s a guy when you turn on the film you going see him, see him blocking, special teams,” Feaster said. “He’s gonna give it his all every time he’s out there.”

Dawkins is part of Muschamp’s original signing class and is carving out a role as a senior. He’s started three games this season and has seven starts overall but has appeared in 41 games. Statistically, his best season was his freshman year when he recorded eight catches for 69 yards. He has 22 receptions for 220 yards and one touchdown in his career.

He’s logging more plays at wide receiver as the Gamecocks continue to search for a third option behind Bryan Edwards and Shi Smith.

“He and Bryan really have been our most productive guys,” Muschamp said. “And obviously Shi’s done a nice job in the slot. But as far as outside is concerned, Chavis is really playing well. He was named a captain by our staff before the game because of his play and how he’s been playing. But I would say as much as anything, he’s been very productive when he’s had opportunities.”

Muschamp recently referred to Dawkins as “Steady Eddie,” knowing what you will get from him each time out.

“It means a lot,” the soft-spoken Dawkins said. “I mean, I know I still got some more work to do, but I mean, that definitely means a lot coming from him. It feels good. I’ve put in a lot a lot of work. It’s finally showing up.”

That is part of the other reason Dawkins might go under the radar. He rarely — if ever — brings attention to himself. He conducts his assignments with an almost business-like attitude. It’s not just a front — he’s the same way in the locker room.

“I can honestly say I’ve never heard Chavis Dawkins say 10 words,” senior center Donell Stanley said. “He’s a quiet guy, but everybody knows he’s there because he’s a good player.

“You watch film, you see Chavis, he’s blocking guys downfield. The ball is thrown on the other side, he’s still playing hard, chasing the ball. I mean, you’ve got players like that, you’ve got good players and organizations that help you get where you want to get.”

NEXT

Who: South Carolina vs. Florida

When: noon Saturday, Oct. 19

Where: Williams-Brice Stadium

TV: ESPN

Line: Florida by 5

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