The eight players in the Washington Commanders's 2022 draft class have achieved a lifelong dream. Now, it's time to acquaint themselves with their new team and its rich history.
Over the past two weeks, several of the rookies have met with notable Washington alumni to discuss their lives and careers before they joined the Commanders. The first up was No. 16 overall pick Jahan Dotson, who had a chat with former Washington receiver Santana Moss. Here are some samples from their conversation, and you can hear the full interview in the video above.
Santana: How are you feeling right now?
Dotson: "Yeah I'm good. First day in the building. Honestly, [I've] been itching to get here. Can't wait to see what's in store."
S: "I've been in those shoes before. I understand how we are as collegiate athletes. I mean, my goal out the gate as a 5, 6 year old, I was asked, 'What I was gonna be when I grew up,' I said, 'A football player.' I'm not sure if that was your number one goal, but now that it's over and you're here, what feeling do you have?"
D: "Kind of just achievement, just excitement. Like you said, from an early age, you knew that this is what you wanted to do. And I feel like it's the same exact way for me. My parents always told me when I was a young kid. I never really played with toys. I grew up playing football, basketball. So I always kind of knew I wanted to do something like this. I took it seriously from a young age and it is finally paying off."
S:"So was football number one sport for you? Cause I know I ran track. I [played] basketball, but I knew football was number one. Track got me into college, but how was it like for you growing up?
D: Football was always my number one. I didn't start running track until high school. Didn't start playing basketball until middle school. I've been playing football since I could walk. So I always knew that this was what I wanted to do."
S: "You were born in New Jersey. Did you grow up in Jersey or did you grow up in Philly or Pennsylvania?
D: So I grew up in Jersey for about seven to eight years. And then I basically just moved to PA. My dad put us in a better opportunity for me and my family … It was good, the opportunity to come to Pennsylvania. It was a big culture shock for me, but just adapting to it was good for me."
S: "Around what age did you start playing organized football?"
D: "So I started playing flag football around four years old and i've pretty much been playing ever since."
S: "How was your journey in high school? Knowing that your goal is to get to college doing what you love to do?"
D: "My early years of high school were tough. I went to a very small high school and I was always kind of the best player on my team. So my ninth grade year, they moved me right up to varsity. Just basically threw me in with the big dogs. And I was, I was about 135. I was just ready to make plays. But it was really a shock to me to realize that there's so much more than just your talent that that will get you there. So, just really having to understand throughout high school, putting to work in is gonna enhance your ability to play on the field."
S: "Was it always a given that you knew that what you were doing at that time was going to allow your parents not to have to pay for college for you?
D: "So basically my sophomore year of high school was basically my breakout season. I probably had around 40 offers after that year and going into my junior year, I was highly, highly recruited. And that year I broke my leg. That was the first injury I've ever faced. And it kind of seemed like everything just shut down. Everything went downhill. A lot of schools stopped talking to me, just not getting recruited as, as I was the previous year. So it was tough going through that and knowing that like football isn't everything. Like there's much more to life than just football. I really just had to hone in on daily life."
S: "When did it come to the realization that you can go pro?"
D: "I would probably say after my sophomore season. That's when I really just took it into account. Like I had talks with coach Franklin and he was like, 'Listen, you have the ability to be a first-round pick, you have the ability to be successful at the next level, but you really gotta take this to a next step. And after that sophomore season going into my junior year, that was when I really just enhanced my game. I started really taking the weight room real seriously, just getting that extra working. And I really started feeling in love with it and just never got tired of it."