A Chicago Bears great and Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle once said that his favorite part of the game was the opportunity to play.
Some athletes play their last games in high school; others have the opportunity to continue their careers in college.
Da’Quaun Jamison, a Lee County, Georgia native and Central Michigan University graduate, has the opportunity to play at the next level, the National Football League (NFL).
Jamison found success early during his high school career, accumulating 182 tackles, 15.0 tackles-for-a-loss, 10 pass breakups, 10 interceptions, and five sacks in two years.
Lee County High School football coach Dean Fabrizio helped Jamison excel on the field.
“Coach Dean Fabrizio accepted me with open arms into his football program, but with that came a large scale of accountability & responsibility,” Jamison said. “Fabrizio trusted in my ability to make plays from many positions on the defense, and that allowed my talent to flourish and be recognized, so I thank him dearly for that.”
Following the success of his high school career, Jamison got the opportunity to continue playing football at the collegiate level at Central Michigan University.
Jamison grayshirted in 2014, redshirted in 2015, and did not see game action in 2016.
Jamison built a mental toughness on the sidelines during the 2016 season and expanded his knowledge of the game.
“I took watching special teams seriously, and that helped the coaches trust me and built trust within their eyes,” Jamison said. “The coaches knew I had the physicality and mental capacity to go out there and do my job.”
In 2017, Jamison saw his role expand for the Chippewas. After appearing in 13 games with five starts, Jamison recorded 33 tackles, including one for a loss.
In 2018, Jamison’s role expanded even more. Appearing in 12 games with nine starts on the season. Jamison recorded 29 solo tackles with 12 assisted tackles, had three tackles for loss for 8 yards, and made an interception vs. Maine (9/22).
Jamison continued to dominate on the field during the season after forcing a fumble vs. Eastern Michigan (11/3), had a season-high eight tackles vs. Northern Illinois (9/15), and vs. Bowling Green (11/10).
Entering his final collegiate season at Central Michigan, Jamison saw a coaching change occur as the program hired former Mountain West Conference and Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, Jim McElwain.
Although McElwain is considered an offensive guru, the 2019 season was where Jamison excelled.
“From day one, McElwain saw my leadership skills not so much of what I said and demanded in the locker room, but what I did & how I approached the game,” Jamison said. “He sensed how tough my faith was.”
McElwain told Jamison that he was going to bring a winning culture back to Mt. Pleasant. McElwain’s word was bond, and from man to man, Jamison respected that!
Central Michigan finished 1-11 in 2018, and under Coach Jim McElwain, the Chippewas finished 8-6.
For Jamison, one memory stands out during your time at Central Michigan.
“I’ll never forget the feeling of running out the tunnel at Ford Field for the MAC Championship, seeing all the CMU fans loaded up with support after a season of winning one game,” Jamison said. “The feeling was one of the best because all it took was faith and belief in one another.”
Many players elect to enter the transfer portal if a new head coach enters the program for their senior season.
Jamison stayed at Central Michigan for the 2019 season. Because of that, Jamison can say that he is a MAC West Champion alongside his fellow Chippewas.
With his collegiate career coming to an end, Jamison has all eyes focused on his next opportunity. Playing in the NFL.
Jamison is currently training for the National Football League with focuses on improving his speed, technique, and strength.
“Every day, I focus on these phases of the game because the opportunity I will get, I have to be prepared to go out & showcase my ability to perform at a high level,” Jamison said. “Different styles of play are necessary for today’s game of football; you have to be able to perform different techniques according to your opponent and the position(s) you are playing.”
Jamison believes that technique is formed through repetition and that strength is the most underrated phase because this game is about durability, who can last the longest.
With Jamison focused on strengthening his body, it will be the key to his success in the end.
The NFL Draft takes place virtually April 23 thru April 25.