LEWISTON — Sullen expressions and fits of frustration often accompany position changes for college football players this time of year.
So it’s noteworthy that the first words out of Isaac Dotson’s mouth on Thursday were: “I’m excited. I’m definitely excited.”
If Dotson is upset about being moved from quarterback to safety during the first week of Washington State’s preseason camp, he certainly isn’t showing it. The freshman out of Newport High School in Bellevue came to WSU with the intent to play quarterback, though he freely admits he knew there was a chance he’d be moved to another position.
“I knew what I was getting into signing as an athlete,” Dotson said. “I knew that they were going to move me around. So I got those couple days at quarterback and Coach (Mike Leach) was talking to me, and we both mutually felt that it would be better for me to get out there somewhere else, and kind of move me along and help me develop more and get on the field a little earlier.”
The change came Wednesday, when Dotson worked with the linebackers, though he was with the safeties on Thursday. Defensive coordinator Mike Breske said that’s where he’ll stay.
“He’s a smart kid,” Breske said. “He’s Football 101 savvy. He’ll get along, and he’s excited. He brings a lot of athleticism, which I saw at the quarterback position in high school. We’ve just got to translate it now to the dark side.”
Dotson has limited experience on that side. He said he played free safety with more frequency toward the end of his senior season at Newport, though he is mostly remembered for the 1,047 rushing yards, 17 rushing touchdowns and 11 touchdown passes he racked up as the team’s quarterback.
But at WSU, he’d likely wind up no better than fifth-string at QB, and his speed and athleticism as a 6-foot-1, 218-pound safety were too much for Leach or Breske to ignore. After all, there’s a reason Dotson — also a basketball player at Newport — was named the Seattle Times’ High School Male Athlete of the Year in the state of Washington.
“He’s going to be at two or three pretty quick, and then if he really gets in a rhythm, maybe challenge for a spot,” Leach said.
Breske said he plans to play at least four safeties this season, and Dotson joins a group that includes senior starter Deone Bucannon, senior Casey Locker, senior Anthony Carpenter and sophomore Taylor Taliulu competing for playing time.