In Greenville, South Carolina, there is a small private school of 2,700 students and on its 750-acre campus there is one mighty big man. The school is Furman University and the big man is the Paladins left offensive tackle, Dakota Dozier. You may or may not be familiar with the university, but chances are that in the not too distant future, you are going to become very familiar with their star lineman. His performance during his four seasons in Greenville is getting him noticed.
Glad Jeremiah mentioned Furman OL Dakota Dozier. He helped himself this week and is a player highly thought of in NFL circles— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 18, 2014
Although there is very little film available to the huddled masses, one look at the performance this guy is capable of will leave you asking why Dozier is not playing at a much bigger school. I was able to find some film of him on line from the Paladins 2012 contest with Clemson, and it was impressive the way he handled men from the bigger program.
During his time at Furman, Dakota was a four-year starter along the Paladins offensive front and each season he earned conference honors for his efforts. As a redshirt freshman he was named to the SoCon All- Freshman team and the following three seasons Dozier was named all conference, second team for his sophomore season and first team during his final two years. In addition he was named as an FCS All-American for those final two seasons. His efforts earned Dozier an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game last month in St. Petersburg, Florida where he continued to distinguish himself.
Another player that had a solid East-West practice--Furman OT Dakota Dozier. Quick feet, firm pass set.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) January 14, 2014
After his four seasons of starting at left tackle for Furman, the 6'4" 312 lb Dozier found himself being used inside at guard. his projected position at the next level, for the first time. It turned out to be an easy transition for the young man. He was able to accomplish every task that was set out for him and he was readily able to adjust to the stunts and blitzes thrown his way. With his natural athletic ability shining through, Dozier looked as if he had been playing guard for a few years instead of just a few days.
Dozier surfaced as the top offensive line prospect this week and is a darkhorse top-100 prospect. - Dane Brugler
In fact, at NFLdraftscout.com, he is currently ranked as their #5 offensive guard prospect and they are projecting him as a third-round selection. While some other sites do not have him ranked nearly as high, Dozier is elevating his stock in the eyes of those who cover the draft.
With many Senior Bowl Gs (or future Gs) impressing, lets not overlook Furman's Dakota Dozier. Was top 10 Shrine before and after the week.— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) January 24, 2014
Spending four years as a left tackle has helped Dozier develop excellent footwork skills. He is a natural knee bender and he plays with good pad level. Quick for his size, Dozier has demonstrated the speed necessary to get outside when pulling and he is effective at getting to the second level. He keeps his legs churning through his blocks and uses lower body strength to drive his man. Over his collegiate career, Dozier led the way for three consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons. In pass protection he sets well in his stance and and maintains solid form while stalemating the pass rush. He sets a solid base and possesses a strong anchor.
Although he has faced periodic top-level competition, most of Dozier's experience comes against lower level talent. Although he acquitted himself well at the Shrine Game and during infrequent games against top notch programs, he has yet to face the consistent quality he will see at the next level. He is capable of delivering an outstanding punch at times, but he needs to work on being able to do so on an ongoing basis. Dozier does suffer from an occasional lapse in technique which he will not be able to get away with in the NFL. Several times during Shrine practices the coaching staff was forced to call him out for either lunging at his man or for trying to block one-handed.
As a senior Dozier demonstrated his leadership by serving as a team captain. That leadership was cited by the Furman coaches as being a significant factor in the team's late season surge. On the field he plays with a mean streak and plays right up to the whistle. As he demonstrated during his week in St. Petersburg, Dozier responds well to coaching and he has the "multiplicity" that the Cowboys like in their players.
One look at Dakota Dozier's picture on his profile at the Furman team site and you can see the intensity and mean streak in his face. In addition to his skills on the football field, Dozier is also a former high school wrestler which is something I like to see in an offensive lineman. Not only does wrestling teach self reliance, but it emphasizes the use of footwork, leverage, and technique in order for the athlete to be successful. In Dakota's case, he wrestled at a championship level.
While my fellow front page writer, KD Drummond, has become the conductor of the Jimmy Garoppolo train, Dakota Dozier is equally impressive as a small-school prospect. Although he did not earn the type of recognition that the Eastern Illinois passer did, he is the one who is more likely to become a contributor during his first season in the league. He is also the type of guy that you can expect to see manning the trenches for years to come.
They're playing Dakota Dozier #Furman inside at Guard..was an AA at Furman but will play a long time in the league inside— Emory Hunt (@FBallGameplan) January 18, 2014
With that being said, I am officially naming Furman OT/OG Dakota Dozier as my pet cat for the 2014 NFL Draft. While the offensive line may not be the biggest need in Dallas, with Ron Leary's knee and Mackenzy Bernadeau's history of injury I am not fully confident that the Cowboys have the depth to survive a potential loss in the interior. Drafting Dozier would, at the very least, provide that depth and potentially yield a starter early on in his career. Besides, how can you not want a Dozier on your O-line?