Early Doucet is no dummy. Based on everything he's heard and from everyone he has talked to, if there is a shot at the pros, it's more than likely going to be as a receiver. That's ok, he can live with that. That isn't the issue though. The issue is that it's not the respect as a receiver he's upset about obvious, it's the disrespect he's getting at a position he's equally partial to, right behind center. He's eager to show everyone that he's pretty good at throwing the ball as well as catching it to. "I think I have more of an advantage playing receiver, but I can play quarterback at the college level for any school." Doucet stated.
To say he takes umbrage with the opinion that he is just a receiver at the level beyond would be accurate, because not so long ago, that's all Early wanted to do. "Initially, that's all I wanted was to be a QB and be listed amongst all the other quaterbacks out there." Early said. "After sitting down and talking about it with some people though, we felt that receiver was probably best."
That's not changing his mind about his first love however. In fact, if you ask him to state any one player at the next level or beyond that resembles him or that he's been told he resembles, it's not a receiver that gets chosen for the side-by-side. "A lot of people compare me to Michael Vick." Early said.
Ok, I know what you are thinking. Everyone with any decent running ability and good speed with a decent arm has been compared to Vick at some point, if only in the hopes that another like him would grace the field one day. For Doucet though, he has more than just your average fan or coach saying he looks like Vick. He's got someone who would probably know. "Coach Bustle used to coach at Virginia Tech and is now at Louisiana Lafayette and he came to evaluate me." Early said. "He told me that I was similar to Vick, that I didn't have as strong an arm as Michael had when he was in high school, but I was bigger than him."
Those comparisons would probably make most preps a little skiddish, because you know how that stuff goes. Someone gets dubbed "the next" whoever and it's pretty much all over after that. Doucet doesn't mind. "I'm used to people calling me ‘baby vick', so it doesn't bother me." he said. "I know I can play, so I doesn't really matter who they compare me with, because I am not any of them. I am Early Doucet."
Most any player will tell you that finding their own identity is what matters. Especially when players are either going into situations replacing someone that was successful or prominent or such as in Early's case, his abilities and athleticism have been a catalyst into him being compared to players like that. As Doucet stated, he's about making his own noise, his own way, using his own name as the weight behind whatever achievements he has.
Back to this position-issue though, I realize that in all reality, it doesn't seem that the position of QB is realistic for Early though he has indicated that many schools recruiting him have asked that he try out QB and if that didn't work, they would certainly move him to his perceived best position. Early is insistent regardless of hype however that don't rule out QB, because he's not happy that everyone else has ruled him out as a QB as well. "Nobody thinks I can throw." Early said. "We have been in such a run-oriented offense, I have never had a real chance to show what I can do, but this year, we are going to try to throw the ball more, so I could have a great year as a QB."
Will a great year as a QB affect his decision on what position he wants to play in college? "You never know what could happen." he said. "If things work out, I sit down and talk with my family, I might just end up playing QB in college, because I know I can play QB for anyone. I could probably win a Heisman playing QB at Nebraska, because they do the same thing I have done all my time in high school."
And to think he's even more confident at Wide Receiver.
That's one thing you won't have to worry about with Early Doucet, but it's for good reason. He isn't ranked number one by TheInsiders for nothing. Is playing QB an option for him or is receiver his ultimate choice for the future?
The answers to those questions will go a long ways into determining just where he goes, but his list is long and will no doubt get longer as the season goes on. And for Doucet, he's in no big hurry. "I'll sit down with my family before I decide anything, but I will make sure I commit to the place I want to go, so I won't rush anything."
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 402-730-5619