Nick Dawkins is a 6-4 300-pound three-star offensive guard who plays for Parkland high school in Allentown. Dawkins is one of the strongest linemen in the country; he handles his opponents with pure strength. Once he gets his hands on you, you’re in a fight with an animal. He stayed on home and committed to powerhouse Penn State Nittany Lions on April 22nd.
His father, Philadelphia 76ers legend Darryl Dawkins, wowed crowds for a living with thunderous dunks and powerful play. He named his dunks like “The turbo sexophonic delight dunk” or the “In your face disgrace” and my personal favorite “Your Mama”. He was so delightful that musical legend Stevie Wonder named him “Chocolate Thunder”. Darryl Dawkins would give the world another highlight his son Nicholas Dawkins. He is the 4th ranked prospect in Pennsylvania and a top 30 offensive guard in the class of 2020 by 247 sports. He is a massive and strong talent just like his father. I talked with him for Philly Sports Network for my first installment of Penn State Chronicles.
LJ: It takes a long fight to gain the success you have gained. What struggles did you have to overcome to get to this point as a Penn State Nittany Lion?
Nick: My father passed away when I was 13 years old and my mom had to get 2 jobs just to cover me and my sisters, so it only felt right that I take the burden of college expenses off her back and play where she and my family will be able to see me.
LJ: What would you tell younger athletes today about how to achieve the success in making it to the college level?
Nick: You have to have that killer mentality, kill it in the classroom and on the field/ court, take care of your priorities and play with a purpose.
LJ: What made you commit to Penn State?
Nick: I believe in the coaching staff wholeheartedly they made me feel at home and have kept it real with me throughout the whole process, the atmosphere in Happy Valley is unrivaled, and being from Pennsylvania, it only feels right to put on for my home state.
LJ: What coach was recruiting you?
Nick: Coach Spencer came into my school, and started a relationship with my family and I, then coach Limegrover played a great part, and my family loved him, Coach Parker recruits my area so I get to talk to him a lot, as well as constantly keeping in contact with Coach Franklin, Rahne, Spencer, and Rheiner.
LJ: What stood out the most that made you commit to Penn State? What other schools were heavily involved?
Nick: The coaching staff and nostalgia played a pivotal role, the other schools in the mix were Northwestern, Rutgers, and Pitt, I appreciate them all for extending me an offer.
LJ: What Penn State players have you grown close with? Who has been a great mentor to you so far?
Nick: Caedan Wallace and Blake Zalar keep in contact with me, and always keep it real with me and always preach that real talk to me. They’ve both been great to me.
LJ: Why is Penn State a great place for any athlete to commit?
Nick: The atmosphere in Penn State is just something special, the fans embrace every sport and it’s called Happy Valley for a reason.
LJ: The Nittany Lions have recently had a lot of Pennsylvania prospects commit. How does that feel to see the Pennsylvania power in this class?
Nick: it’s great, being from Pennsylvania and watching college football everyone knows about Penn State and the traditions and culture, so now being able to be a part of it with my fellow Pa natives it’s amazing.
LJ: How do your parents feel about Penn State? Which coaches have developed a great relationship with your parents?
Nick: My mom loves Penn State, she would’ve committed for me if I didn’t! Coach Limegrover, Coach Spencer, Coach Franklin, Coach Rheiner, and Coach Parker all keep in great contact with my family
LJ: How have both your parents influenced your life?
Nick: My parents have influenced my morals today in respecting everyone and acting mannered and such in the presence of others, as well as teaching me you have to earn everything, there’s no handouts no matter your last name.
LJ: Any hard parts about growing up. Any tragedies we don’t know about you had to face and overcome?
Nick: My father’s death deeply impacted me, due to how close him and I were, after that I had to step up and become the man of my house, I felt as though I had to mature at a younger age because I need to be able to support my family like my dad did.
LJ: Your father was legendary Philadelphia 76er Darryl Dawkins. What did you learn from him about being a man and being an athlete?
Darryl: As a man, you have to take care of your family and respect others and always try to make someone smile. As an athlete, you have to have fun playing the game because it’s just a game.
LJ: What former 76ers have you met? Any that treats you like family?
Darryl: World B. Free for sure, he is family and he always keeps in contact as well as Bobby Jones. As for who I’ve met, I’ve met all the greats from Dr. J to A.I.
LJ: How hard was it when your father passed? Where were you when you found out?
Darryl: It was rough, yes; I saw him in the chair but didn’t realize it. I thought he was just sleeping so I always live in constant guilt. Thinking what if I would have done something.
LJ: Tell us about Allentown? How is it living in that city? How into the local sports is Allentown?
Nick: Allentown is a cool city we have a minor league baseball team and hockey team. It’s like a little Philly here and there’s a lot of diversity, it makes the city great and cultured.
LJ: How many sacks did you give up your junior season?
Nick: One and I plan to have Zero for the rest of my career
LJ: What is your strength? What do you need to work on?
Nick: I feel as though, I have a strong IQ and footwork, I need to work on my punch and hip flexibility.
LJ: What are you looking to show Penn State coaches in your senior season?
Nick: I cannot wait to show them how much my technique and mentality have changed. It’s time to go put in this work so I can support my family, and be aggressive as all ever because the dude in front of me is just in the way of that.