With rookie minicamp underway, Commanders wide receiver Jahan Dotson didn't even think of attending his graduation ceremony from Penn State on Saturday.
That's until head coach Ron Rivera stepped in.
"I was actually ready to skip the graduation and be out here at practice, but (Rivera) said that's a once-in-a-million type thing," Dotson said, via pennlive.com. "He was all for me going, and I hadn't even thought about skipping practice until he brought that up."
Dotson spent the week preparing for the start of the Commanders' rookie minicamp on May 6 and the second day of practice was scheduled to coincide with the graduation. The first-round pick was committed to his pro obligations, but the veteran coach was wise to let Dotson live out an experience he will never forget.
"Many people in my family haven't achieved this goal, so it's pretty big for me and my family, to be able to achieve this goal of graduating from college," Dotson said.
Dotson was selected by the Commanders with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, one of six receivers taken in the first round amid a scramble for picks at the position. Rivera had no doubt about the 22-year-old's talent ahead of the draft, so much so that he felt an official pre-draft visit from Dotson wasn't necessary.
"We had a good stack of players that were available," Rivera recently told NFL Network's Rich Eisen on The Rich Eisen Show, via NBCSportsWashington.com. "One of the guys in that group was Jahan, who we felt very, very good about. We felt so good about him that we didn't bring him in on a (top-)30 visit just because we felt like we knew enough about him, that he was the kind of guy that we had hoped to get a chance at, and sure enough we did.
""He was a guy we didn't have really any questions on. We had over six of our personnel there for his pro day, they did a lot of background on him while they were there. We've done a lot of background on him throughout. We just felt like this was a guy we didn't have any questions on, so we didn't want to raise any flags as far as he was concerned, so we opted not to bring him in."
That absence of Dotson could be seen as a strategic ploy the Commanders used to disguise their intentions. But before Dotson's new chapter in life begins in Washington, Rivera made sure of the rookie's presence at University Park on Saturday to appropriately close the book on his college career.