Dotson's talents revealed in Cougfan Q&A

PULLMAN -- Isaac Dotson hits hard, flies to the ball and is a member of the most menacing unit on the field: the safeties. Off the field, he wears a perpetual smile and is a self-taught musician. Those two sentences may seem to juxtapose one another, but the redshirt sophomore is indeed all of those things.

Dotson’s Cougar blood runs deep. His roots as a Cougar go back to his dad’s days as a wrestler in Pullman. His dad, Michael Dotson, wrestled at WSU from 1983-1986. He was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 qualifier and also received All-American honors during his junior year. His parents met at WSU and two of his sisters also attend WSU.

At Bellevue's Newport High, Isaac played quarterback and safety and then was a member of the basketball team during the winter. His excellence on the field and the court earned him a 2013 Seattle Times High School Male Athlete of the Year award.

During the 2013 season, Dotson recorded 10 tackles, including 7 solo tackles, in six games while playing mostly on special teams. After being limited during spring practices in 2014 due to an injury, Dotson played in only the first two games of the 2014 season before being sidelined by another injury. He recorded four tackles in those two games.

Despite the injuries that hampered his playing time, Dotson has all the necessary attributes to make a major difference on the field. He stands at 6-foot-1 and 214 pounds, a menacing physical force, and has the attention to detail and background as a quarterback to anticipate where the offense is going. He thoroughly enjoys playing the game in a Cougar uniform and is not afraid to speak up to younger members of the team when he believes they aren’t putting in full effort.

Fast forward to this spring and Dotson looks poised to secure the starting role. He has been running with the ones for most of the practices and his athleticism is apparent in the tackles he has collected. Under the new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, Dotson is thriving on the energy.

The soft-spoken but hard-hitting safety caught up with to discuss everything from spring ball to his hidden talents as a musician.

CF.C: How has spring ball been for you so far this season?
Dotson: It’s been really fun! It’s been good to get to learn Coach Grinch’s system and fly around with my teammates, obviously have a long way to go but it’s been good.

CF.C: You played quarterback and safety in high school and are now exclusively at safety. Is there anything you miss about playing quarterback?
Dotson: Yeah, it’s fun to have the ball in your hands every play and kind of dictate on the offensive side of the ball, but I’m happy to just be out here playing so whatever I can do to help this team is what I’ll do.

CF.C: If you could play any position on the field what position would you chose to play?
Dotson: I’d play safety, for sure.

CF.C: What is your first memory involving sports?
Dotson: Probably coach-pitch baseball when I was seven. Or no, it would be wrestling for sure. I wrestled when I was five, six years old. My dad wrestled here back in the 80s so he was my coach when I was a youngster. I don’t really remember much about it because I was so young but those are the first things I remember doing.

CF.C: Both of your parents went to WSU, do you have a favorite story that they tell about WSU or Cougar spirit?
Dotson: Not that I can think of specifically, a lot of just how they met and how they loved it here. We have got a legacy going now with us. My sister goes here as well and my other sister just graduated a couple years ago so it’s kind of a Coug family.

CF.C: Who is the best singer in the locker room? What about the best dancer?
Dotson: It used to be Eric Oertel but he’s gone. We don’t have a lot of singers in there right now. We got a lot of dancers though! Keith Harrington is pretty good. Paris Taylor is pretty good, we got a few guys.

CF.C: You were going to go to the University of Nevada before you decided to come to WSU. What made you settle on WSU?
Dotson: Just the fact that it’s Pac-12 football, it’s hard to pass up playing in this stadium, in this town, in front of the best fans in the country. And on the biggest stage conference wise. I’d say that was mostly the bottom line and I’m glad I made that switch, and I couldn’t be happier where I am.

CF.C: Who do you look up to most?
Dotson: Taylor Taliulu’s one of the guys. He is back there playing safety with me and since I got here we have been locker neighbors and we hang out a lot off the field. He’s like a big brother to me, so Taylor is probably the main guy I look up to.

CF.C: Does that help with your play on the field, having that connection with the other safety?
Dotson: Oh yeah, definitely. It helps a lot. Just a different kind of chemistry going, a different kind of communication we got. Sometimes we know what each other’s thinking and that just makes it a lot easier to communicate back there since we are on the same page.

CF.C: What is your favorite pre-game warm-up song?
Dotson: When I was a little kid I had a CD that was just instrumentals that I would listen to before games and it had Bone Crusher’s “Never Scared” on it, and it didn’t have any lyrics on it because I was seven and my mom wouldn’t let me listen to the lyrics. They were a little bad. But I’d say ever since then, ever since I was little, I’ve listened to “Never Scared” before every game so it’s a good one.

CF.C: Do you have any hidden talents?
Dotson: I’m a musician. I play the piano, drums, guitar, do production and stuff and that’s one of the things Taylor, and I like to do off of the field together is listen to music, and he likes to rap. I’ll make a beat for him and he raps and we will make a little song.

CF.C: How long have you been playing these instruments?
Dotson: Since about middle school, that’s when I really started picking it up. I never took lessons or anything. I just like to listen to songs and just challenge myself and see if I can play it myself.

CF.C: What is your favorite funny story that you can remember from practice or the locker room?
Dotson: A funny one from last fall camp is we were running a kickoff drill and we were short a scout guy to hold one of the bags so our old d-coordinator jumped in there and he was holding the bag. Then Frankie Luvu just ran full speed at him and put him right on his butt, which was pretty funny.

CF.C: What are you looking forward to most in this coming season?
Dotson: Just being out there. Having the opportunity to play and fly around with my brothers and have a lot of fun and of course we’re getting to a bowl game. That’s the goal and we’re out here working hard. Just having the opportunity to be a Coug and put on this helmet and this uniform every Saturday is going to be a treat.

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