Nick Dawson's heart was with Clemson at the start of the recruiting process. But when it came time to announce his decision during Saturday's US Army All-American Bowl, the four-star Charlotte, N.C., linebacker chose Louisville over the Tigers and NC State.
Dawson, one of the top defensive prospects in San Antonio this week, was one of Charlie Strong's top recruits in this recruiting class. Strong also is in the running for US Army All-American linebackers Keith Brown and Josh Harvey-Clemons.
"I like everything about Louisville, the coaching staff and facilities," Dawson told Scout.com's Britton Lynn. "I've been talking to Keith Brown. If we go there and get (Josh) Harvey-Clemons we'll be linebacker U."
Dawson made an official visit to NC State in early November, then made an official visit to Louisville last month. He didn't make an official visit to Clemson.
"I'm taking my talents to Louisville," Dawson said on national television.
Rated the No. 27 outside linebacker prospect in the country by Scout.com, Louisville identified Dawson as a top priority early in the recruiting process and relentlessly recruited him up to his announcement. Dawson visited Louisville last spring, attended the Cardinals camp last summer, where he received one-on-one instruction from Strong, and built a strong relationship Strong and assistant Brian Jean-Mary.
Dexter Heyman's departure at middle linebacker could pave the wave for Dawson to make an early impact for the Cardinals defense. As a junior, the 6'2, 225-pound Dawson recorded 113 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and five sacks.