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5 Things To Know About LS Camaron Cheeseman

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The Washington Football Team used its sixth-round pick (225th overall) to select Michigan long snapper Camaron Cheeseman.

A New Albany, Ohio native, Cheeseman appeared in 39 career games and earned special teams player of the week for his performance against Middle Tennessee in 2019. An aspiring dentist, Cheeseman was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar.

Here are five things to know about the newest special teams addition:

1. He was the nation's No. 2 long snapper coming out of high school.

Cheeseman's dedication to his craft began on the junior varsity team at Lincoln High School in Ohio. Cheeseman was playing center at the time, but one day after practice, he tried long snapping at his father's request. After a couple of snaps, one of his coaches yelled, 'Hey, Wisconsin! “You know they give scholarships for that, right?”

So began Cheeseman's journey towards becoming an NFL long snapper. He and his father spent most of their free time long snapping, according to The Athletic's Austin Meek, and eventually he earned national recognition, attending the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl and emerging as the No. 2 long snapper 2016, according to 247Sports. The three-star recruit from Ohio State country decided to accept a preferred walk-on spot at Michigan, and the move paid off when he earned a scholarship two years later.

"I was thinking to myself, 'This has been a dream to play in the Big Ten, to play in the Ohio State-Michigan game. I can't pass up this opportunity,'" Cheeseman told MLive.com about choosing Michigan.

2. He opted out of the 2020 season and prepared for the NFL on his own.

After snapping in 39 games across three seasons, Cheeseman faced a difficult choice: With the Big Ten season on hold, head coach Jim Harbaugh told him his scholarship would not be renewed, so he could either pay out-of-state tuition while hoping there would be football or train for the NFL back home.

Academically, there wasn't much left for Cheeseman to accomplish. He had enough credits to graduate with a bachelor's degree in biology and tested high enough on the Dental Admission Test (more on that later) to have his choice of a few dental schools.

So, Cheeseman opted out of the 2020 season and moved back to Ohio, where he dedicated himself to becoming the best possible long snapper prospect. That meant changing his diet, creating his own workouts and training with Casey Casper of Kohl's Kicking, Punting, and Long Snapping.

According to an ESPN profile on Cheeseman, he bought a tripod for his iPad to improve his film quality and sent all of his videos to Casper, who would pour over every detail, no matter how big or small, to help Cheeseman incrementally improve.

"It's cool where he's gotten to with his knowledge of the game, just the little nuances," Casper told ESPN staff writer Harry Lyles Jr.. "It's been fun for him and I because that's what I do for a living, I break down long-snapping and film, tens of thousands of clips a year and figure out little things and why, and talk to guys like him and other NFL guys, and it's just cool to have that. Guys that take it to that level where he's a student of it, it's like he's becoming an expert kind of thing. How can we get better? How can we get faster, better rotation, more accuracy, all that stuff?"

Cheeseman's devotion resulted in an invite to the Senior Bowl, which he believes boosted his draft profile because he was able to show professional scouts the progress he made despite missing the fall season.

And by the time the draft rolled around, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Cheeseman as the No. 2 long snapper behind Alabama's Thomas Fletcher.

"There is that stigma that specialists typically won't get drafted," Cheeseman 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."

3. His excellence extends beyond long snapping.

Contrary to popular belief, there's more to long snappers than just long snapping.

"Easily the hardest part of being a good NFL snapper is your blocking because you have to snap a ball, backpedal, catch up to a guy that's in a dead sprint next to you," Casper told ESPN. "It's very, very difficult to do, and that's why guys lose their jobs."

For one, Cheeseman has the size (6-foot-4, 237 pounds) to handle whoever attempts to break through the middle of the formation. But more importantly, he spent his entire college career in Michigan's pro-style punt system. A lot of college teams utilize spread punts, where they immediately run down the field once the ball is snapped. That's a significant adjustment for many long snappers entering the NFL, but not for Cheeseman, who has a deep understanding of the blocking schemes and necessary footwork.

"Cam's been doing that already for three, four years, and he's training on that. He's not having to learn all that stuff now," Casper said. "He just checks every box. He really does."

Despite not playing this past season, Cheeseman continued to fine-tune the minutiae of his craft, from standing off to the side to jogging out to the ball to visualizing the different combination of players who could be on either side of him. That picture dictates the specific steps Cheeseman will take.

"A lot of times you'll see snappers just want to keep snapping back to back to back, you may have five snaps in a minute," Cheeseman told ESPN. "That's unrealistic to how the game is. I kind of like to picture the situation."

4. He scored in the 93rd percentile of the Dental Admission Test.

Cheeseman's career "emergency backup plan" is probably better than yours.

He said after Washington selected him in the sixth round that if he did not have any NFL interest, he would have pursued his other dream, which is to become a medical professional.

He had wanted to go into emergency medicine until his junior year of college, but after a shadowing experience, he decided to explore his options. That led to his relationship with Dr. James McNamara, an orthodontist who has been in the field for half a century, and in time he "truly just fell in love with dentistry." Cheeseman served as a research assistant for McNamara in Ann Arbor through the University of Michigan, and the two "co-authored the first significant article on the carriere appliance, which is a method of fixing an underbite," according to ESPN.

In August, Cheeseman took the dental exam and scored in the 93rd percentile. In the fall, he started applying to dental schools and got accepted to Michigan and Ohio State. And while his No. 1 priority has always been to become a professional athlete, he supplemented his pre-draft training by working four days a week at a local orthodontist’s office.

"He's taking this NFL thing really seriously," McNamara told ESPN. "But he's taking the dentistry thing just as much. I mean, he got admitted to Michigan and Ohio State on his own merits. This wasn't because he was a football player, I can tell you that."

5. He's the ninth pure long snapper to ever be taken in the NFL Draft.

Cheeseman knew there was a chance he would wind up in Washington when the team decided in March that it would not be bringing back longtime long snapper Nick Sundberg. Cheeseman said he had an initial Zoom meeting with Washington about a month and a half before the draft and a couple more as the three-day event drew closer. He impressed special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor with his "fit in with anybody" personality and "take his job very seriously" demeanor.

"I wouldn't want to be with any other special teams coach," Cheeseman said after being drafted. "I love the guy, excited to get to work with him and the rest of the coaches. I did get a Washington hat before the draft in the event they took me, so I was prepared for that. I'm excited to wear it and get going."

General manager Martin Mayhew admitted that long snapper was an "important position" for Washington, and as the draft progressed into the final rounds, he said an opportunity presented itself for the team to acquire more picks. So, Washington traded a fifth-round pick next year for sixth and seventh rounder. With its first new selection, Washington filled one of its holes by adding Cheeseman.

"The biggest thing about 'Cheese' was that he was very consistent," head coach Ron Rivera said on an episode of Good Morning Football. "Taking to our special teams coaches, who went out and did a lot of research on these guys, we felt this was one of the young men we wanted to target. We also felt that we had to get him in the sixth round because if not, somebody else might have taken him."

Cheeseman's selection proved to be historic since it came three picks after the Carolina Panthers took Fletcher -- marking the first time two pure long snappers went in the same draft. As just the eighth pure long snapper chosen since 2015, Cheeseman can't wait to showcase his talents in Washington.

"This is everything I've ever wanted," Cheeseman said. "Especially being a long snapper and having an opportunity in a place like Washington, it's going to be awesome. I'm beyond blessed and excited."

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