Dawson family at home with Florida

Dawson family at home with Florida

Duke Dawson and his father may have been big-time Florida State fans, but now that Dawson gave his verbal pledge to the Gators, things may be changing. The 2014 cornerback chose Florida over Florida State in an announcement ceremony where he took off his jacket to reveal an FSU shirt. He took off that shirt, signed it, gave it to his dad, and revealed his Gators shirt beneath.

Duke Dawson picked up offers from both Florida and Florida State at camp last summer. The Dawson family visited Florida several times after that and really built a strong bond with the Gator coaching staff.

"It's only been a few months and it's like we are already family. They show us so much love when we go over there. It's just the hospitality and the whole environment that make it really great," Rod Dawson, Duke's father said.

"We have grown to be really close," said Duke's mother, Monique Dawson.

"I've spent a lot of time with them. I've been there trying to get a feel, see what was going on. I've only been to Florida State once and I really didn't get a chance to interact with the coaches."

While the Dawson family became quite close with the Florida coaches, Rod Dawson had a hard time turning away from his love for FSU. Still, he's happy for his son and is excited to support him no matter what.

"Well I'm a die-hard Florida State fan, but I always told him, wherever he goes, if he likes it, I love it," he said.

"The main thing I like about Florida is the ideal academics. That was a plus for me."

"Whatever choice he made, I'm still happy. It really didn't matter to me which way he went," said Monique.

Duke's mom is especially excited he'll get to play with Florida 2013 safety commit Marcell Harris, a long-time friend of the Dawson family.

"I'm very excited because I've known Marcell for like ten years, me and his mom are best friends, more like sisters," she said.

Both his parents know Duke will be a big asset to the Gators as a great teammate and as a teachable athlete.

"He's going to be a hard-worker, a great athlete, but most of all, a kid that's willing to learn and listen and be respectful more than anything," Rod said.

"Being mommy, (I say) they're getting a very good, respectful, hard-working, go-getter," said Monique.

Duke Dawson has plenty of time before he'll sign his papers to Florida, but right now he has no intention of even looking in to any other programs.

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