Prior to his final game as a Florida Gator, cornerback Duke Dawson stood in Florida's indoor practice facility with a fresh look.
Instead of the long, thick hair he had donned for his entire collegiate career, here stood a clean-cut Dawson preparing for the next stage of his life.
"I'm going into the real world now," Dawson said back in late November. "I'm about to become an adult. I have to have a clean look."
On Friday, Dawson found out where the real world will take him.
The New England Patriots selected Dawson, a senior and two-year starter for the Gators, with the 56th overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Friday.
Dawson has the ability to play outside corner, but the nickel is his specialty. In 48 career games (19 starts) Dawson had 23 pass breakups and six interceptions (three returned for touchdowns). He also recorded 82 tackles. Dawson was All-SEC as a senior after he recorded a career-high four interceptions and nine pass breakups, marks that respectively ranked tied for fourth and 10th in the league.
Dawson is the second Florida player drafted this season, following first-round pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan.
His selection also continued the Gators' recent run of defensive backs making it to the NFL. Dawson is the Gators' sixth defensive back taken within the first two rounds of a draft over the past three years. Marcus Maye, Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson were taken in the second round of the 2017 draft. Vernon Hargreaves III and Keanu Neal were first-round picks in 2016.