One of THE quarterbacks of my youth. We all know about his career with the Chiefs - but he played college ball as a Boilermaker.
During the recruiting process, Dawson had to choose between Ohio State University in Columbus and Purdue University in Indiana. While he was reluctant to take over Woody Hayes' split-T offense with the Buckeyes, the true reason he selected Purdue stemmed from the rapport he had established with assistant coach Hank Stram, beginning a friendship that would last for more than a half-century.
As a sophomore in 1954, Dawson's first as Purdue quarterback, he was the NCAA's leader in pass efficiency, while also playing defense and serving as the team's kicker. Behind a strong offensive line, he threw four touchdown passes in a 31–0 victory over Missouri, then later engineered a huge upset of Notre Dame, which had entered the contest on a 13-game winning streak.
During three seasons (1954-1956) with the Boilermakers, Dawson threw for over 3,000 yards, leading the Big Ten Conference in that category during each year. He was named All-American (3rd Team) during the 1956 season. He was an All-Big Ten Quarterback during the 1955 and 1956 seasons.