Aaron Dawson: Down But Not Out

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Aaron Dawson: Down But Not Out

Aaron Dawson carries the football during a drill in practice.

Aaron Dawson carries the football during a drill in practice.

Julia Jade Moran

Aaron Dawson carries the football during a drill in practice.

Julia Jade Moran

Julia Jade Moran

Aaron Dawson carries the football during a drill in practice.

Trevi Alickolli, Assistant Sports Editor

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After leading the Blue Devils in rushing a season ago, junior running back Aaron Dawson suffered an injury to his right foot. A re-aggravation to the same injury is threatening to potentially end his season.

According to Dawson, the initial injury occurred on April 11, 2019, during spring practice on a Thursday afternoon.

“I was running an option route out of the backfield. I planted so hard that my foot just literally broke,” Dawson said.

Dawson suffered a fifth metatarsal fracture, which is a fracture of the long bone on the outside of the foot during Spring and “rebroke” his foot when he came back for summer workouts.

“It was in July, we were doing the three-cone drill,” Dawson explained. “I came around the corner and my foot got stuck in the turf, I already knew what was about to happen and I tried to stop it but my foot just broke again.”

After the re-aggravation, Dawson recalls the feelings floating around as “a lot of disappointment.”

“I thought my foot was going to be good, I wanted to ball out with my brothers but I can’t. It’s all good though, God has a plan so I’m not worried.”

Dawson rushed for 896 yards (7.3 YPC) and 13 touchdowns a season ago, both leading the team, while also adding an additional 123 yards receiving (1 TD). After being second in all-purpose yards on the team a season ago, he was expected to be the starting running back for Central Connecticut this season.

Initially, the speculation was that Dawson would miss the entire season, but depending on how the rehab goes, that might not be the case.

“I can be back by November,” Dawson said. “My doctor said I’ll be 100% in November, so I’m going to talk to my doctor and if he says ‘Yeah you can come back during the season,’ I’ll come back. If he says ‘chill and come back next season,’ that’s what I’m going to do.”

Although Dawson has been away from the football field, he has been “training twice a day, every day.”

Beyond the physical work, he has also grown mentally.

“I’m getting stronger and I’m getting better mentally on the field, when I come back I’m going to be a smarter player on the field,” Dawson said.

“The stuff that I know now, film-wise, I didn’t even know last year honestly, like my key reads on certain run plays, I see football from a different perspective.”

Dawson believes the thought of a dominant running back just now understanding his reads and still improving, should scare a lot of opponents.

“I always tell people pain changes people, it really does and when I get back on that field, I’m going to be unstoppable,” Dawson said.

“I’m definitely going to be stronger, I’m just going to keep going harder and harder, man. No one is going to stop me, no one is going to stop this team.”

Central definitely missed their lead running back in their season opener against Fordham University, the leading rusher was a quarterback, Aaron Winchester. Despite that, there were still bright spots.

Redshirt freshman running back Kenyata Huston scored a 34-yard touchdown on his first touch of the season and got awarded NEC Rookie of the Week honors while other backs contributed.

“They’re going to do great, we have a four-headed monster so I’m not worried at all, I know they’ll get the job done,” Dawson said on his fellow backs.

When Dawson returns to the field, whether it’s this November or next season as a redshirt junior, he has high expectations for himself.

“After next year, I believe that I’m going to go all the way and I believe that I’m going to be the best back in the country,” Dawson said.

Going all the way, aka making the NFL is no small task, but it is not impossible.

“I got the work ethic. No one is going to outwork me,” Dawson said confidently.

If Dawson returns to the thousand-yard back that he was a season ago and improves physically and mentally like he suggested he did multiple times, there shouldn’t be a reason why he cannot reach his goals, despite his recent setback.

Dawson mentioned multiple times and even ended the interview by saying, “remember what I said, pain changes people,” and he clearly believes this will change him for the better.