Parkland Press

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PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland lineman Nick Dawkins has committed to Penn State to play football. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_ PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERBParkland lineman Nick Dawkins has committed to Penn State to play football. Copyright - Don Herb 2017_

Dawkins decides to go to Penn State

Friday, August 30, 2019 by CJ HEMERLY Special to the Press in Sports

Everyone around the Lehigh Valley knows the last name Dawkins, and the sport that it is primarily associated with. Darryl Dawkins played for the played 14 seasons in the NBA, primarily with the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers and New Jersey Nets.

Nick Dawkins is a star offensive lineman for the Parkland football team that is committed to play at Penn State University next fall.

So why not basketball?

“I was a 6-foot-2 center, and that doesn’t really work out,” Dawkins said. “I was horrible at basketball. All I could do was go up and get rebounds. I actually played lacrosse in Philly until my sophomore year. I like to hit people, and in football you are able to do that.”

His final choice of schools was between Penn State, Northwestern and Pittsburgh.

“I loved the academic success at Northwestern,” said Dawkins. “But the big thing for me about Penn State outside of the location, was the alumni base it has. I want to work in business and that is all about connections. So to have a large network like that is huge for me.

“The offensive line coach at Penn State is also a big reason why I chose Penn State. He gives it to me real but he also treats me with respect.”

He will enroll early, planning to arrive in State College this winter to major in business management and communications.

Dawkins had family that attended Penn State, and he said that his mother wanted to go there when she was still in school.

One of Dawkins’ old family members and ex-teammate Jahan Worth helped him in his recruitment, telling him, “go where you can be and you feel your best.” For Dawkins, that was State College.

Dawkins started growing into his 6-5 frame last summer heading into his junior year.

“I grow in large portions at one time,” Dawkins said. “Even with my dad, he grew six inches just one summer. I was 6-2 after my sophomore year and then grew two inches that summer. I’m also a size 16 shoe so shopping for cleats is difficult.”

Growing up in the Parkland youth programs and being a student-athlete for his four years at Parkland High School has taught him a lot of valuable lessons to use moving forward.

“One of the big things about playing here and being here is the family aspect and the competition,” said Dawkins. “I love it. It’s Parkland pride.

“I’m playing for something bigger than myself. It’s such a big school with a lot of students, so there’s a lot of competition but you also get to meet so many great people, including teachers and coaches.”

For the first time in the last seven years, the Trojans did not hoist the District 11 trophy. That stung Dawkins and his classmates, who are now seniors.

“You have to lose some to win some, but last year was tough,” said Dawkins. “After last season, us seniors all sat down and said that we need to put in more work. This offseason I have bonded with my teammates more, just like in the weight room and on the field. Everyone is working toward the common goal of getting back and we’ve become closer because of it.”