Sports

Dakota Dozier: Paladin Turned Viking

Dakota Dozier discusses how Furman football prepared him for the NFL.

“I think back to my years at Furman and I am tremendously thankful for every single day I had on that campus.” Furman University and Associated Press

Furman has produced some unbelievable athletes who not only excel in the classroom but also go on to play professionally. One of Furman’s latest products is Dakota Dozier.  

Dozier attended high school only two hours away from Furman at Brookland-Cayce High School. He played offensive tackle, defensive tackle and defensive end in high school. He was not only the MVP of his team but also earned spots on the all-region, all-area and all-state teams. It was clear to his coaches, teammates and peers that he was going to succeed at the next level. Dozier stood at 6’ 5” and had the perfect build to be an offensive lineman. Despite all of his accolades and skills, Dozier was still unranked by Rivals.com.  Dozier did not let this deter him. He kept working hard and decided that the best choice for him was going to Furman University, a place that would welcome him and his talents.

While at Furman, Dozier started 44 games at left tackle, where he was on the All-Southern Conference team three years in a row from 2011-2013.  In addition to playing on the All-Southern Conference team, he was named an FCS All-American twice, and a unanimous All-American in 2013. Under the instruction of head coach Bruce Fowler, Dozier and the Paladins won the conference title together in 2013. Dozier’s career at Furman sparked a lot of pro interest. His high-level performance and work ethic at Furman proved that he was more than ready to play and compete at the highest level: The National Football League.  

During Furman’s “Lunch and Learn” on Tuesday, October 6th, Dozier discussed how Furman prepared him for professional football, saying, “I think playing at Furman was a huge advantage for me because I talk to guys that go on to schools [and] redshirt. They wait 2-3 years to start playing, whereas for me, I redshirted and played right away. I got a lot of reps on the field and learned how to play offensive line. I might not have [played] against some of the bigger schools, but the rep counts really helped me get ready for the league.”

After his impressive career at Furman, in 2014, Dozier was drafted 137th overall in the 4th round by the New York Jets. He played in 14 games with the Jets in 2017, starting three of them. In 2018, he resigned from the Jets, following his offensive line coach to the Minnesota Vikings. In 2020, Dozier signed a one year $1 million contract with the Minnesota Viking, and this season he looks to be a core element of the Viking’s hope to turn their offense around.  

It is exciting to see someone from Furman succeed at such a high level, but it is not a surprise. Dozier won the Bill Hampton Award with the Jets in 2014, which is given to a rookie that exemplifies the highest character both in and out of the locker room. Dozier said, “my job is to go out and do the best I could each day so that’s what I did. When an opportunity came my way, I was able to take advantage of it... I think back to my years at Furman and I am tremendously thankful for every single day I had on that campus.”

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