Tulane Hall of Fame receiver JaJuan Dawson found dead in Texas lake


The Tulane community mourned Tuesday as authorities confirmed the death of former Tulane Hall of Fame receiver JaJuan Dawson.

Dawson, 37, was reported missing Sunday evening when he fell overboard in a lake near Dallas, Texas while on a family boat outing with his wife, two children and friends.

It was determined that Dawson was not wearing a life preserver at the time of the incident.

Collin Country Sheriff’s Office Mariner Unit and Texas Parks and Wildlife recovered the body at 11:35 p.m. Monday evening.

According to NFL media, the body was found about 300 yards from where Dawson initially fell. The Collin Country Medical Examiner confirmed the final identification of the body Tuesday. It was announced that alcohol did not play a role.

“As we try to process this tragic news, our prayers and support go out to JaJuan’s entire family,” Tulane athletic director Rick Dickson said.

Dawson, a two time Tulane Hall of Fame inductee, is considered one of the most successful WRs ever to play for the Wave. He still holds onto the school record for receptions per game at 5.7, as well as the No. 2 position for career receptions and touchdown receptions, with 234 and 31 respectively.

Dawson was an instrumental component of the undefeated 1998 Tulane team. That season, he recorded 74 catches for 1,030 yards and 12 touchdowns. A particularly notable play of that season came on September 12 against SMU, when Dawson received a 94-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Shaun King, marking the longest passing play in Tulane history.

Dawson went on to play professionally after his outstanding collegiate career. A third-round draft pick in 2000, Dawson spent two seasons with the Cleveland Browns and one season with the Houston Texans. In that time, Dawson earned a career 52 receptions for 664 yards and two touchdowns.

“[We are] saddened to have learned about the passing of JaJuan Dawson,” the Houston Texans organization said in a press release Tuesday. “Though JuJuan was only with the organization for one season, Dawson made an impact with everyone he interacted with. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dawson’s wife, Jamie, and their two young daughters.”

Since the accident, many former teammates and loved ones have spoken out about how much of an impact Dawson had on their lives, and how he will be missed.

“He always had a smile on his face, never complained about anything,” P.J. Franklin recalled to SportsNola.com. “It’s a terrible loss for the entire Tulane family.”

Those who played with Dawson at Tulane continue to speak highly of him and how he was a dependable, genuine, and determined individual both on and off the field.

“The person he was (at Tulane), he just continued thriving and setting new goals. Wonderful husband, wonderful father, friend, brother. We considered ourselves brothers,” Franklin said. “That’s why its so tough to have someone like that not be with us any longer…He’s definitely going to be missed.”

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