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Southern defensive lineman Jason Dumas powers way to forefront in HBCU Legacy Bowl victory

'At the end of the day, it goes back to who's more physical, who's stronger, who's smarter in the game'


Whatever it was that Jason Dumas intended to show pro football scouts who were in attendance Saturday at the HBCU Legacy Bowl, suffice to say he did that, and then some.

Dumas, who finished his collegiate career at Southern University, had three sacks and was named Outstanding Defensive Player as his squad, Team Robinson, claimed a 10-3 victory over Team Gaither. Dumas' teammate, receiver Xavier Smith of Florida A&M, was Outstanding Offensive Player after catching six passes for 85 yards and a game's lone touchdown, a 22-yarder in the third quarter.

Dumas, a Vacherie, La., native, is undersized at 5 feet 11, 270 pounds. It's all the defensive lineman ever has been told. But as he wreaked havoc Saturday at Yulman Stadium on Tulane's campus, what also was evident was that Team Gaither was helpless to keep him out of the offensive backfield.

"I woke up, I felt good and I told myself, 'It's just football,'" he said. "At the end of the day, it goes back to who's more physical, who's stronger, who's smarter in the game. I don't look at the game as some big extravagant thing. It goes back to the basics of football and I really enjoy that part of the game."

Dumas was a physically dominant presence during his time on the field for a team that totaled eight sacks.

"Just line him up," said Southern Coach Eric Dooley, co-head coach of Team Robinson. "Let him play 60 minutes of football. I always tell people, the hole doesn't open up tall, it opens up wide.

"So the only thing he has to do is be able to get through the hole. You don't have to be able to jump and dunk the basketball, you've just got to be able to get to the quarterback."

"Line up against me," Dumas said. "Come in front of me. Come stop me. That's all I'm going to say. Hopefully, the film shows. I've got a lot of people in my corner that expect a lot out of me. I've got a lot of people that work hard."

Dumas said he watched his father wake up at 2 a.m. to leave for his job as a welder.

"So I just carried that with me throughout my college career," he said.

"It was four of us (kids), I was the baby. I used to pack his lunch box. I just cherish that moment. I didn't know what was going on at that time by me being so young, but I see that God woke me up for a reason at that time, for me to experience that and just know what it takes to be a hard worker."

Game action photos from the 2023 HBCU Legacy Bowl at Tulane's Yulman Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.

The work allowed Dumas to compensate for the physical dimensions that he didn't have. He easily rattled off the criticisms – too small, not big enough, doesn't weigh enough, won't be able to take on blocks, arms too short.

"They looked at me, instead of just looking at 'me,'" he said. "What I mean by that is, what type of person I was, where I came from, my background. They don't know how hard I work in the weight room.

"I've been through a lot with my size and people telling me I'm small. Sometimes it hurt, but I took that pain and just put it in the weight room, put it in the classroom, put it in my film study and it paid off."

He said he can max bench press 500 pounds, squat 650 and dead lift 630. Maybe, he can lift himself into an opportunity to have a pro career.

"I'm just a hard worker," he said. "I'm a dawg. I'm a go-getter, and also I'm a team player. I'm going to do everything I can for the team first, and stay disciplined to who I am. Being a good, quality person is better than just being a football player that's not a good, quality person."

"When guys do the right thing and do the things you're supposed to do, good things are supposed to happen," Dooley said. "The young man works extremely hard."

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