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The Cheeseman Cometh

One of many experimental iterations ...

Om

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Virginia Tech


With the 225th selection of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Washington Football Team selects:

Camaron Cheeseman, LS, Michigan

6' 4", 237 lbs., R-Senior

NFL.com Player Bio

Cheeseman was a top-10 long-snapper prospect nationally out of New Albany, Ohio, when he left to play for the state's main college football rival in 2016. After a redshirt year, he snapped for extra points and field goals the following season, except for one contest where he also snapped on punts. Cheeseman took over full-time duties the following two seasons, making one coverage tackle in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

Overview

2020 opt-out with three years of handling snapping duties for the Wolverines. Cheeseman improved from 2018 to 2019 as a kick snapper with consistent accuracy but teams will likely have concerns about his inaccuracies with long-snapping over the last couple of seasons. [Or not? See Atlantic article below]

Strengths
  • Three-year long and short snapper.
  • Consistent placement on field goals and extra point snaps.
  • Gets snaps off without much of a hitch.
Weaknesses
  • Inconsistent spiral with his long snaps.
  • Made punter move too often with off-target snaps, with a tendency to sail it high.

Action Film








Atlantic article

Dental school or the NFL? For Camaron Cheeseman, it was an easy choice
By Austin Meek May 6, 2021

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — For NFL teams seeking versatility in the draft, it’s hard to top a long snapper who could double as the team orthodontist.

That’s Camaron Cheeseman. Or it could have been … if a single phone call hadn’t put him on a different career path.

The phone call came around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday from Washington coach Ron Rivera. Cheeseman was at his parents’ house near Columbus, Ohio, with 30 or 40 friends and family members. When his parents scheduled the draft party, they knew they might not get the payoff of seeing Cheeseman’s name on the TV screen. With only 32 active members, the NFL long-snapping guild is a small club. Most drafts feature one snapper at most, and being picked requires the perfect combination of luck, skill and timing.

Even if he didn’t get drafted, Cheeseman — Michigan’s long snapper from 2017 to 2019 — was confident about his chances of signing as an undrafted free agent. Houston was the team he heard from the most in the week leading up to the draft. Washington, which parted with veteran snapper Nick Sundberg in March, was the team he saw as his most likely draft destination.

Carolina was a wild card. When the Panthers drafted Alabama snapper Thomas Fletcher with pick No. 222, Cheeseman’s father, Marty, had a sinking feeling.

“When Fletcher went, I sort of doubted, like, ‘Oh, man, this is it. Fletcher got drafted, and Camaron’s not going to be,’” Marty Cheeseman said.

Camaron was more optimistic. Washington still needed a snapper, and now there was one fewer on the board. Three picks later, his phone rang.

“He looks at me and said, ‘Dad, I’ve got a phone call. The phone’s ringing!’” Marty said. “We all rushed inside the house. He’s on the phone with Coach Rivera, like, ‘Yes, sir, yes, sir, I’m ready to come to work.’ You could see the smile on his face and how excited he was. The whole house erupted.”

The conversation with Rivera was a fitting bookend to a hectic process that began months earlier with a one-on-one meeting with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. Like every other player in the Big Ten, Cheeseman had to evaluate his options after the league voted to postpone its fall football season. He had just taken the Dental Admission Test and scored well enough to have options for dental school. He already had the credits to graduate from Michigan with a biology degree. He couldn’t play football and attend dental school at the same time, so he had planned to take a few business classes, play his fifth year at Michigan, then enroll in dental school the following year.

Cheeseman arrived at Michigan as a preferred walk-on before earning a scholarship for his final two seasons. With the Big Ten season on hold, he was told his scholarship wouldn’t be renewed for the fall. He had a choice: Sign a $2,100-a-month lease and pay out-of-state tuition for classes he didn’t need in hopes of playing one more year of college football or move on to the next phase of his life.

“He left it up to Marty and I,” Cheeseman’s mom, Teresa, said. “We were like, ‘You know, Camaron, you still can go to the next level. It would not be intelligent financially for you to write that check out in a couple weeks when you don’t even know if there’s going to be a football season in the fall or spring.’ It was very sad for us as parents.”

If they had known the Big Ten would end up playing football in the fall, the Cheesemans would have found a way to pay the $40,000 tuition bill. But they didn’t know, so Camaron moved back home and tried to figure out his next steps.

Teresa wondered if the disappointment would sour him on football. Instead, Camaron changed his diet, found a trainer and started attacking his workouts in ways he couldn’t do while juggling classes and football practice. Sitting on their family’s patio, watching Michigan’s first game against Minnesota, Teresa could tell Camaron wasn’t ready to give up on the NFL.

“Seeing the look in his eyes, at that time I knew he was going to do everything he can to make sure he gives it a go,” she said. “If dental school is the backup plan, it’s going to be the backup plan.”

The Cheesemans had seen that look before. It started when Camaron was in high school, playing center for the junior varsity team. One day Marty was hanging around at practice and encouraged him to try a long snap.

“Hey, Wisconsin!” one of Cheeseman’s coaches barked, using an obvious moniker for someone with his particular surname. “You know they give scholarships for that, right?”

From that point forward, Camaron and Marty spent most of their spare time practicing snaps. They would go to the nearby high school or throw down a carpet square in the street, marking out yard lines with spray paint. If it was raining, they would go in the garage.

Camaron was relentless, and Marty has the calluses to prove it.

“I’ll tell you what, them laces on the football, especially when your hands are cold …” Marty said. “I wear gloves a lot of times. That ball comes out in six- or seven-tenths of a second on a 10-yard snap. It hurts, especially if it’s cold out.”

Cheeseman participated in the renowned Kohl’s kicking camps and earned an invitation to the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, where he caught the eye of Michigan’s coaches. Playing football at Michigan was a bold choice for a kid who grew up just outside of Columbus, but Cheeseman made it pay off by winning a starting job and earning a scholarship.
Marty and Teresa were bursting with pride, but they learned to be discreet about it.

“Wearing Michigan clothing here in Columbus is not a good idea,” Marty said.

When his college career was cut short, Camaron moved back home and tried to figure out his next steps. He knew he wanted to give the NFL his best shot, but he needed a backup plan, too. He settled into a routine working four days per week at a local orthodontist’s office, taking an online anatomy class he needed for dental school at Ohio State and devoting the rest of his week to training.

“There is that stigma that specialists typically won’t get drafted,” Camaron said before his Michigan pro day. “Specialists — kickers, punters, snappers — have to go in with the mindset that they’re going to be a first-round pick. I think you have to go in with idea that I’m going to give it everything I have with the hopes of getting drafted, and then if I don’t get drafted, I’m going to give it everything I have on whichever team gives me an opportunity and go in to compete to win a job.”

As a draft prospect, Camaron had a few things working in his favor. At 6-foot-4 and 237 pounds, he has the size to be an effective blocker, a requirement for NFL long snappers. And because Michigan uses a pro-style punt formation, he learned footwork and blocking schemes that typically aren’t required for college long snappers.

Those traits — plus the fact that he didn’t have a bad snap in three years at Michigan — gave Camaron a good chance to catch on with an NFL team. But landing with a team doesn’t guarantee an NFL career, and for some specialists, it can take multiple tries to find the right spot. If the NFL didn’t work out this year, Camaron would have had to choose between enrolling in dental school or continuing to chase his football dreams...


CLICK HERE for rest of article

***

Welcome to DC, Mr. Cheeseman. May we not hear your name during a game for the next 12 years ...

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Boone

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Marine Corps Virginia

Awesome stuff Markus!
 

Om

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Virginia Tech

I love everything about this kid and his story. It's good to take a look at the NFL dream through the eyes of an Everyman once in a while ...
 

Om

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Virginia Tech

Gold, Jerry. Gold.
 

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