What do you do with a 6-foot-4, 195-pound athlete with positional versatility and experience playing quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back?
You figure it out.
That’s what Missouri already planned to do with 3-star commit Jude James. It will also be the plan with recent 3-star commit, Cam Dooley.
Dooley spent the vast majority of his time as the quarterback and safety for his high school team in Alabama. He rushed 81 times for 377 yards and six touchdowns while completing just under 50 percent of 93 pass attempts for 721 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions.
That’s not where the accolades end. Not for Dooley. He’s also quite the accomplished basketball player, helping to lead the Valley High School boys basketball team to a perfect 33-0 record and the Alabama 5A state title last year. He averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game.
The 6-foot-4, 195 pound prospect from Valley, Alabama chose the Tigers over SEC offers from Kentucky and Vanderbilt.
Where he fits: I could use a big ol’ shrug emoji here and it would be every bit as accurate as anything I’m about to say, but I’ll go ahead and give this the college try. My best guess is Dooley eventually lands at Missouri’s “STAR” position in its defense, essentially serving as a safety and linebacker combo. The biggest piece of the puzzle holding me back from saying Dooley will definitely land at STAR or in the defensive backfield, in general, is his height. He’s listed at 6-foot-4. The tallest players in Missouri’s secondary are currently Jaylon Carlies (6-foot-3) and Daylan Carnell (6-foot-2).
Height isn’t inherently a bad thing. In fact, it could be a very good thing. That length can come in handy winning 50-50 balls, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have such a long reach when a player is trying to shed blocks. But height does come with some potential drawbacks. Does a higher center of gravity hinder Dooley’s ability to change direction? I would assume his basketball background would help him in that area. There’s simply not enough film to make a definitive statement one way or the other. When you have an athlete like Dooley, you take the talent and figure out where he fits later. I think he’ll start at safety. Where he ends up from there is anyone’s guess.
When he’ll play: Oh, it could be a little while. Dooley should be considered a project. Mizzou is taking this commitment because he’s an athlete with the ability to become a great football player, not because he’s a finished product right now with the ability to get more athletic.
What it all means: Missouri’s history signing players listed as athletes by recruiting services has been a bit of a mixed bag.
Players listed as athletes to sign with Missouri in the past decade:
- 2014 — Keyon Dilosa (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) — Landed at WR, eventually transferred
- 2014 — Thomas Wilson (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) — Landed at safety, became a multi-year starter
- 2014 — Tavon Ross (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) — Injuries derailed his career, but served as a combo linebacker/safety
- 2014 — Grant Jones (6-foot, 165 pounds) — Landed at linebacker, served as a reserved
- 2015 — Cam Hilton (6-foot, 172 pounds) — Started out at wide receiver, eventually transitioning to safety as a multi-year contributor
- 2016 — Jerod Alton (5-foot-10, 178 pounds) — Landed at cornerback, eventually transferred
- 2019 — Anthony Watkins (6-foot, 180 pounds) — Landed at running back, eventually transferred
- 2021 — Davion Sistrunk (6-foot-2, 165 pounds) — Eventually landed at cornerback, eventually transferred
- 2023 — Phillip Roche (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) — Starting out at STAR
- 2023 — Jamal Roberts (6-foot, 200 pounds) — Running Back from day one
We’ll see how things go with Roche and Roberts this year, with Dooley and James joining the mix in 2024. Dooley certainly has the athleticism to translate to the next level. It remains to be seen what position he’ll play.