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Looking Forward, Never Backward: OT Landon Dickerson Building for the Future

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystSeptember 29, 2015

North Carolina 4-star offensive lineman Landon Dickerson has a top five of Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn and Florida State. He also lives by words from Henry David Thoreau.
North Carolina 4-star offensive lineman Landon Dickerson has a top five of Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn and Florida State. He also lives by words from Henry David Thoreau.Courtesy: 247Sports

Few high school students have knowledge of who Henry David Thoreau is. Even fewer high school athletes could recognize the work of the famous American poet, philosopher and author.

Hudson, North Carolina, 4-star offensive lineman Landon Dickerson isn't your average football player. When he read Thoreau's words from the 19th-century piece "Walking," they immediately caught his attention. The words made sense in how Dickerson not only treated regular life but also football his college future.

"Above all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past."

Dickerson looks at life in its simplest form: The past is the past; focus on being better for now and for later.

"We studied [Thoreau] in English," Dickerson said. "His ideas really kind of appeal to me. He's been an interest to me. It wasn't really on purpose; it just kind of happened."

Dickerson does his part in not looking back on what happened, but he makes it a priority to learn from the past to be a better person as each day comes. That attitude has helped him become a leader for South Caldwell High School, as well as the nation's No. 51 player overall and the No. 7 offensive tackle in the 2016 class.

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"Really, I just try to put the past behind me, whether good or bad," he said. "Right now, we're 5-0. I don't think I've ever been 5-0 in my career. But I try not to talk about it. I just live every day like it's a new day.

"You've got to just keep working and get better every day."

Dickerson is the No. 2 player in the state of North Carolina, so from an individual standpoint, he has an immediate goal to reach—which goes hand in hand with his team goal of helping South Caldwell win a state championship in his senior year. From there, he's looking to find a college suitable to call home and a place that will help him reach his full potential.

Dickerson said he has a top five of Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn and Florida State. The 6'5", 295-pound lineman added that he's received rising interest from Texas A&M and Ohio State, and offers from them could put a slight jumble in his list.

Florida State will get Dickerson's first official visit the weekend of Oct. 9, and Auburn will get an official the weekend of Nov. 27. Those are his only visits set thus far, and he's looking forward to both.

"I went down [to Florida State] this summer and familiarized myself with the campus," he said. "Going back, I'm just looking for the game atmosphere and what it's like to play there. With Auburn, it's the same thing. I also want to get some of my educational questions answered about their engineering department."

Dickerson is a versatile lineman who is ranked as a tackle but can play tackle or guard at the next level, depending on the scheme of the offense. He's a strong athlete up front who plays with a lot of tenacity. He showed his physical nature over the summer at The Opening, as he refused to let defensive linemen bully him, whether he won or lost one-on-one battles.

Courtesy: 247Sports

When asked if he had a preference of where to play on the line, Dickerson simply replied: "I'd rather be active."

Being an NFL lineman is an ultimate dream of his; obtaining an engineering degree is something Dickerson wants first. He said he is unsure about the specifics of the degree he wants, but he has a high interest in physics, chemistry and mathematics.

A college scholarship will help him obtain those goals. He has 20 reported offers from coast to coast. He did reiterate that while he's comfortable with his top five, offers from Texas A&M and Ohio State could make things interesting with his decision-making.

"If Texas A&M and Ohio State come into the picture, that will leave five teams fighting for three visits," he said. "They are relatively new players, but they could be heavy hitters in this."

Dickerson is excited about the future, but his focus, however, is the present. He's all for doing his part in helping South Caldwell advance as far as possible on the football field.

Looking at the past—what could have been, what should have happened—is forbidden. All per Thoreau's words.

"I wouldn't say I'm a perfectionist," Dickerson said, "but I'll never feel accomplished with what I do. I'm always looking to accomplish more and go farther."

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles

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