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Evaluating Washington’s 2021 draft class on character metrics

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Outback Bowl - Minnesota v Auburn Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Earlier in the week, I looked at the athleticism of Washington’s 2021 draft class compared to some of the most athletic draft classes in the past 30+ years. That was a relatively easy exercise compared to what I’m proposing to do today, which is to try to plumb the depths of these players’ characters. There are no easy single metrics, there are no in-person interviews. I don’t have access to anything about them beyond what I can find on the internet through relatively straightforward searches.

Going in to the search, I had no idea what I was going to come out with, but I looked at a variety of factors, including: academic success, team captainships, special recognition for community work, and any testimonials I could find about each of these players. Let’s see where the journey took us.

Round 1: Jamin Davis (LB)

  • Graduated a semester early from high school in order to attend Kentucky.
  • Volunteer for “God’s Pantry” (2019) (food back in Lexington).
  • Favorite quote is: “you can’t have a million dollar dream with a minimum wage work ethic.”
  • “He understands our culture, he has a tremendous background, the kind of background that I look for. Very smart and intelligent young man. …He’s what you look for in a football player.” - Ron Rivera

Round 2: Sam Cosmi (OT)

  • Academic all-state in high school.
  • Two-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll (fall 2019, spring 2020)
  • “One of the things is being as honest and as raw as possible with my personality,” Cosmi said. “I’m one of the most hard-working guys on the field and off the field.”

Round 3: Benjamin St. Juste (CB)

  • Academic All-Big Ten (2020)
  • Earned his undergrad degree from Michigan in just three years and then earned a Sport Management Master of Education in two years with the Gophers.
  • Named to the National Football Foundation’s Hampshire Honor Society.

Round 3: Dyami Brown (WR)

Round 4: John Bates (TE)

Round 5: Darrick Forrest (S)

Round 6: Camaron Cheeseman (LS)

  • Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2019)
  • Two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2018-2019)

Round 7: William Bradley-King (EDGE)

  • Sun Belt Conference Academic Honor Roll (2016)
  • Graduated from Arkansas State in May 2020. Pursuing master’s degree from Baylor.
  • “As far as who I am away from the field? I would say I am a simple guy. A family man first and foremost. I am all about my people back home. I want to be a guy who others can look up to. I want to be a leader and show everyone in my city you can make it. Prove to them that we can be successful if you just put in that hard work. That’s who I am really. I am a guy that is all about his community and showing them love. They need to know that I will always be here for them, and I will put on for them. I feel like a lot of people get away from home and stop showing love. That will never be me. I will always be family first, and that includes my hometown.”

Round 7: Shaka Toney (LB)

Round 7: Dax Milne

UDFA: Jaret Patterson (RB)

  • Team captain (2020)

Are these statements and thoughts just platitudes, the sorts of praise coaches and fans routinely give all sorts of players, without any real depth? I’ll let you be the judge of that. But, I’ll say, in my searching, what I didn’t come across, were allegations of criminal behavior, stories about suspensions, or academic probations.

Humility, quiet leadership, hard work, were all common themes, and all seem like great traits to pair with athletic excellence, if one intends to make it at the highest level of the sport.

Poll

Is the character of pro football players important to you?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Not as important as their performance on the field.
    (20 votes)
  • 60%
    I think it’s an important consideration that should be weighed in the mix.
    (421 votes)
  • 36%
    It’s a deal-breaker if it’s not there.
    (255 votes)
696 votes total Vote Now