Junior Lamar Dawson started seven games for USC in 2013 before a knee injury kept him off the field in the second half of the season.
By the numbers: 35 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks
What went right: Dawson beat out Anthony Sarao to retain his starting position at WILL linebacker and was a fixture in the Trojan defense through the first half of the season. He led linebackers in tackles in four of the seven games he started, rising to the potential that was hyped during his high school recruitment.
Clancy Pendergast’s defensive system clearly suited Dawson and he made great strides as a run stopper.
Against Notre Dame, Dawson put one of the hits of USC’s season with his sack on Tommy Rees, knocking him out of the game.
What went wrong: The knee injury Dawson suffered during practice leading up to the Utah game threw a spoke in the wheel of what had been a solid season.
Still, Dawson was only skimming the surface of the expectations that come with wearing the #55 jersey at USC.
Like the entirety of the defense, his performance against Arizona State left plenty to be desired.
What’s next: With a new head coach and defensive staff, Dawson will once again face competition from Anthony Sarao in the offseason. Coming off a devastating ACL injury he will have the added challenge of getting his body back into form.
Final Grade: B+
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