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Dawson leaves IUP for Cal

| Wednesday, April 26, 2006

No one can say California University football coach John Luckhardt doesn't look ahead.

One of the secrets to his success has been recruiting and getting depth at each position.

It started paying off in his fourth year at Cal in 2005 when his Vulcans went 8-2 for their best showing since going 8-3 in 1984.

Despite returning two juniors -- Joe Ruggiero, the PSAC West first teamer, and highly regarded Matt Humbert of Laurel Highlands -- Luckhardt didn't sit still in the quarterback game.

His last recruiting class included former Beaver Falls High standout Marcus Council, who transferred from Division I Toledo.

Another candidate will be Brad Dawson, who transferred from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Dawson's name should ring a bell since he was the WPIAL's premier quarterback two years ago, leading Thomas Jefferson to WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA championships.

Dawson threw for 2,600 yards and 26 touchdowns with the Jaguars and played in the prestigious Big 33 Classic. His stay at IUP didn't last long.

In the Indians' season opening 28-9 loss to Millersville, Dawson completed three of six passes for 45 yards before coach Frank Cignetti decided to take the red-shirting route with him. Cignetti went with another freshman, Andrew Krewatch of Mt. Lebanon, who led the Indians to an uncharacteristic 5-5 season.

Now the Indians have a new coach in Lou Tepper and may be going back to fifth-year senior quarterback Kevin Weidl, who wasn't permitted on the IUP campus last fall while serving a one-semester university suspension for being involved in an off-season fight with 11 other gridders on Wayne Avenue.

The fact that Dawson picked California shouldn't have come as a big surprise. Dawson's older brother, Brian, starred for Luckhardt at Washington and Jefferson College.

- Speaking of Cal U, it's been more than 50 years since a Vulcan was selected in the NFL draft, with Elmo Natali getting picked in the 10th round by Cleveland in 1953.

It could happen this weekend with running back Antoine Bagwell. who who ran for more than 3,300 yards and 41 touchdowns in two seasons with the Vulcans, and is being projected as a possible seventh round pick. A 5-11, 180 pounder, Bagwell impressed the scouts last month with a 4.38 clocking in the 40-yard dash.

Bagwell has one of the more respected agents in Joe Linta, whose NFL clients include the Steelers' Chukky Okobi, Kansas City's Will Shields, Cleveland's Joe Andruzzi, Minnesota's Matt Birk and Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel.

While Bagwell played in the Hula and Cactus Bowls, Linta had eight other collegians in all-star contests this year: Pitt's Charles Spencer, Auburn's Travis Williams and Florida State's Kamerion Wimbley in the Senior Bowl, Florida's Randy Hand in the East-West Shrine and Miami's Greg Threatt, Kansas' Nick Reid, Villanova's Darrell Adams and Syracuse's Quinn Ojinnaka in the Las Vegas Classic. Penn State's Tyler Reed is also a client.

And thanks to Don DeVore of Monongahela who says most gossips get caught in their own mouthtraps!

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