The most stressful time of the year for Josh Dawson is almost over.
Wrestling season weighs heavy on his mind as he goes for a repeat Class 3A state championship and a second consecutive undefeated season. There’s also the uncertainty of knowing where he’ll serve his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Additionally there’s his studies, which are a high priority.
While all of that is still in play, he at least can breathe a sigh of relief that his college decision is over. The Star Valley senior committed over the weekend to play football at the University of Wyoming as a preferred walk-on and signed his letter of intent on Wednesday.
“First of all, so much goes out to my family who made me who I am today,” Dawson said. “I was there at UW on a couple visits and hanging out with some of the players and I just felt comfortable.”
He is the younger brother of Theo Dawson, who signed two years ago to play football at Wyoming upon completion of his LDS mission. Theo Dawson, a two-time Super 25 selection at Jackson, returns to Wyoming on June 12 and will join the Cowboys for summer camp.
Josh Dawson started his high school career at Jackson, but didn’t feel comfortable during his sophomore year. The family had conversations and he transferred to Star Valley for his junior year.
His initial offensive impact in football was limited. As a junior he was part of a running back-by-committee that featured two other backs who averaged over 100 yards per game. But on defense he averaged eight tackles per game and had 13.5 tackles for loss for the season. He also had three pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and an interception as Star Valley won the Class 3A state championship.
Then came wrestling season where he won all 25 matches, including the state title.
“I can’t say enough good things about Coach (McKay) Young and (Eddie) Clark,” Dawson said of the Braves’ head football and wrestling coaches. “Jackson got me to be an athlete, but Star Valley got me to where I am now.”
The Cowboys first contacted Dawson during his junior year at Star Valley. He ultimately gained interest from Colorado, Colorado State, Montana State, Utah, BYU, Jamestown and Adams State. But he only went on visits to Wyoming.
“They’ve got that new training facility that will be done in July,” Dawson said. “And Coach Bohl has the program on the uprising. And he’s going to be there when I get back with his new seven-year contract so I think the program will just keep getting better.”
Wyoming defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton has been the one recruiting Dawson, but that doesn’t necessarily mean his fate as a linebacker is sealed. Since Dawson will technically be part of the 2020 recruiting class and the coaching staff doesn’t know where they will have a need in two years, he could still play running back.
Dawson finds out in late March where he’ll serve his mission but he knows he leaves July 6. He plans to spend some of that time beforehand with Theo in Laramie at football camps.
He’s less than two weeks away from putting his 50-match winning streak on the line in hopes of winning a second wrestling championship but at least now he can put pen to paper and put this one decision at ease.
“I can’t wait to get back,” Dawson said. “I’m looking forward to the 2020 season and becoming a Cowboy.”