Home Local Sports COMMITTED: Dawkins calls Louisburg College ‘home’, set to join Hurricanes

COMMITTED: Dawkins calls Louisburg College ‘home’, set to join Hurricanes

Senior pitcher Will Dawkins verbally committed to play baseball at Louisburg College earlier this week.

ROCKINGHAM — A holiday treat was unwrapped early for Will Dawkins this week, who verbally committed to play college baseball on Monday.

The Richmond Senior High School senior announced he will be joining Louisburg College, a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Dawkins has been recruited by the Hurricanes as a right-handed pitcher, although he has also played first base at Richmond.

“I am so excited to announce my commitment to Louisburg College,” Dawkins tweeted. “I am thankful to God, my family and friends, and my coaches over the years. I am excited about what’s to come. I’m just getting started! Go Hurricanes!” 

With his verbal commitment, Dawkins became the first Richmond baseball player in the class of 2022 to join the college ranks.

Earlier this school year, senior softball players Kenleigh Frye (Wingate) and Allyiah Swiney (Campbell) signed, football player J.D. Lampley signed with East Carolina in December and soccer player Kaitlyn Huff committed to Gardner-Webb.

In recent years, former Lady Raider softball player Owen Bowers (2018) went the NJCAA route and won the 2021 national championship with Florida SouthWestern State University.

Dawkins had offers from Barton College, Brevard College and King University, but chose Louisburg because of it being the best fit for him.

“I had a couple of colleges offer me and then Louisburg offered,” Dawkins explained. “I went on a visit and I felt at home and really comfortable there. 

“A couple buddies from my travel team are playing there, and Louisburg is a big baseball school,” he added. “Louisburg produces good players and sends them off to much bigger things in life, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

His decision came after visiting the Hurricanes’ program in October and sitting down to discuss the opportunity with his parents. That’s when he picked up the phone and called coach Blake Herring, who Dawkins said “was really excited” about the commitment.

After transferring to Richmond as a junior, Dawkins played an integral part of the Raiders’ pitching rotation last spring, making five starts and 10 appearances on the mound during the pandemic-shortened season.

According to MaxPreps, Dawkins tossed a team-high 28.2 innings and registered a team-low 2.44 earned run average in 2021. His 27 strikeouts were also a team-best and Dawkins held opposing batters to just a .190 batting average.

His 61% strike percentage led the Raiders, who finished 5-9 and took fifth place in the Sandhills Athletic Conference standings. 

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Dawkins’ repertoire of pitches includes a four-seam fastball that he’s seen reach 89 miles per hour. He also throws a two-seamer, a curveball and has recently added a split-finger changeup to his arsenal to help keep batters at bay.

Also a member of the C-35 travel baseball community, which plays showcase tournaments all over the east coast, Dawkins attributes his success with high school and travel ball as a big reason why he’s getting a chance to throw at the college level.

“Playing high school ball has helped me a lot,” Dawkins said. “My coaches know a lot about baseball, and high school has gotten me prepared with weight lifting, getting in shape, hitting and fielding.

“At C-35, my work is more pitching oriented,” he added. “That’s where I’ve focused on my velo progression, throwing harder and my pitching techniques with my pitching coach Rob Wooten.” 

Dawkins will join a Louisburg program that finished with a 30-12 overall record in 2021, including a 15-7 mark against conference opponents. The Hurricanes compete in Region 10 of the NJCAA DI, and took third out of seven teams.

Herring and Louisburg made it four games into the Region 10 Tournament in Lexington, S.C., before being eliminated. 

A two-year program, Dawkins hopes to use the Hurricanes as a stepping stone to continue his development as a pitcher and further his education.

“Louisburg is big on weight lifting and conditioning, and my goal is to learn to throw harder and build my velo into the 90s,” Dawkins explained. “My hope is to continue to get better and then transfer to play Division I baseball.”

While his future is merry and bright, Dawkins isn’t looking past his senior season with the Raiders and head coach Rob Ransom this spring.

“There’s a good group of seniors out there with me this year,” Dawkins said. “We want to win a bunch of games and I want to have a good time with my friends. It’s my last year, so I want to live it up.”

Over the next couple of years at Louisburg, Dawkins plans on working toward a degree in physical therapy or sports medicine. 

Dawkins will sign his letter of commitment later this winter and the Raiders will open their season in early March.

“I want to thank my parents and all of my coaches from my years of playing baseball for helping me get to this level,” Dawkins closed.

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Kyle Pillar is a nine-time North Carolina Press Association award-winning sports editor with The Richmond Observer. Follow the sports department on Twitter @ROSports_ for the best in-depth coverage of Richmond County sports.