6:47 AM PDT, October 10, 2012
LEXINGTON — The Kentucky football team will honor recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Dermontti Dawson on Oct. 20 with Dermontti Dawson Day at Commonwealth Stadium when the Wildcats face Georgia.
Dawson, who played at Kentucky from 1984-87, will sign autographs in the Wildcat Refuge two hours before the 7 p.m. kickoff. Dawson will be honored on the field during the game, while the first 10,000 fans in the stadium will receive a Dermontti Dawson rally towel.
Dawson spent his entire professional career playing playing center for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a six-time All-Pro selection. The Lexington native joined George Blanda as the second Wildcat in the Hall of Fame.
After being selected in the second round out of UK, Dawson spent his first season in Pittsburgh as a backup, but was being groomed as the replacement for Mike Webster while playing guard.
With Dawson anchoring the offense, the Steelers were among the best rushing teams in football. During his 13-year career, Pittsburgh led the NFL in rushing twice and ran for over 2,000 yards as a team eight times. The Steelers also had at least 11 rushing touchdowns in all but two of Dawson's seasons.
The 6-foot-2, 288 pounder was small by current league standards, but made up for whatever deficit he faced in size with power and quickness that made him a track and field star at Bryan Station High School.
He was exclusively a track and field athlete and wrestler before then-Bryan Station football coach Steve Parker recruited him to play football.
Playing for then-Kentucky head coach Jerry Claiborne, Dawson played alongside current coach Joker Phillips in 1984 when the Wildcats went 9-3 and won the Hall of Fame Bowl.