Dawkins explains departure, wants to address mental health

Brandon Dawkins has pulled back the curtain on his decision to leave Indiana’s football program.

In a letter posted to his Instagram account on Wednesday night, Dawkins wrote that his, “mental health is deteriorating (and) I have decided to take a break from the game.”

The former graduate transfer cut ties with IU less than a week after redshirt sophomore Peyton Ramsey won the three-way competition for Indiana’s starting quarterback duties.

Here, Dawkins sheds light on his thought process:

To Whom This May Concern:

Football has been a life changer for me. It has introduced me to friends who have become family. It has given me a platform to be in people’s life, and I have always tried to use that to share a smile. I have always done everything in my power to help others, even if that may just be a simple joke that ignited a smile. Football has also helped me get to college and obtain my degree. Not to mention all of the life skills that it has tough me and memories it has given me that will last the rest of my life.

The most important thing to me though has been the joy that the game always brought me. Over the last couple years I lost touch with that joy. I respect and love the game, but I have lost touch with it. I am not too proud to admit that I needed help. I am grateful for the sports psychology team at both Arizona and Indiana for helping me at some of the lowest points in my life. The game has getting me depressed and hurting my well-being.

As my mental health is deteriorating I have decided to take a break from the game. I know now that I need to take care of ME. I need to make myself important. I have not properly taken care of myself. Do I know what’s next? Of course not, but I do know God has a plan that is way bigger than any plans I could ever imagine for myself. I hope you can respect my privacy during this time, and my decision. Thank you all.



  1. As a quarterback he has been in a pressure cooker for quite some time. Some people are wired to thrive in that situation and some are not.

    I’ve mentioned before that all three of my kids were D1 athletes and they had varying levels of success. Some of it was pretty successful. None of them used up all 4 years of eligibility. Between the time demands and the physical demands it is a lot. A helluva lot.

    Good luck Brandon. You had quite a run as a quarterback. Very few people have experienced what you have. Good for you.

  2. Must not have been easy bein hurt thats bad enough but to watch a guy become a star knowin you would not get that chance to play and that could’ve been you and then come here and fail to get the nod self esteem must not have been high, and not to mention off the field things that knows about also you never kbow what a person goes through or deals with on a day to day basis get well brother from one black man to another

  3. I thought something was amiss when he suddenly withdrew from the IU program. In my work I see the stress of mental fatigue and even some degree of depression or anxiety. Many people suffer in silence due to social stigma associated with these conditions. Good for Brandon that he recognized this in himself and took appropriate actions for HIMSELF. Most times your greatest advocate is YOU! Best of luck, Brandon Dawkins.

    1. Congratulations Brandon. Most shy away from seeking professional help for mental health, especially if they are “public” figures. Good luck and God’s speed in your recovery! Hoosier fans respect you.

  4. Good luck to you, Brandon. Thanks for giving Indiana a try. Though you may feel at a very low point now, a new sun can rise. Your honesty is a refreshing act of bravery. Passion will strike you again and new doors will open. Keep your chin up.

  5. Took a lot of guts to reference his mental health in an open letter like that. I hope Dawkins is O.K. and that he is not suffering from CTE. I was heartbroken when I read the story about Tyler Hilinski, Washington State’s quarterback who was suffering from CTE and took his own life.

  6. Good luck Brandon and I hope you get the help you need to have a successful life and use your degree for the career you want. It takes a real man to stand up in public and admit he has a mental health problem and I commend you for doing that.

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