'I'm just grateful' ... Meiko Dotson details long journey to FSU football
His path to big-time college football wasn't the traditional one.
It was rocky. It was winding. At times, it might have even felt like the path had all but disappeared.
But Meiko Doston is here now. At Florida State. Ready to compete for a starting defensive back spot for his final college football season.
"I'm just grateful, man," said a smiling Dotson on Friday morning after his first practice as a Seminole. "I was just thinking about all the times I couldn't go to practice or couldn't do stuff. So, it's exciting to just be able to do it.
"You know you're not in charge of it. There's a higher power in charge of everything, so you've just got to be grateful for every day."
Dotson, a Daytona Beach native, started his college career at Georgia Tech in 2016. His time in Atlanta was short-lived, though, and he transferred to Garden City Community College in Kansas to play the 2017 season.
From there, he signed with Florida Atlantic but had to sit out the entire 2018 season with an injury. Dotson came back in 2019, and all he did was lead the country in interceptions with nine.
Now he's in Tallahassee, hoping to make an impact somewhere in the secondary.
"I've been to a few places," he said with a laugh. "My biggest thing now is learning what I have to do. I have to earn my keep wherever I'm at."
Dotson said he had a few transfer options this spring when he was looking for a new school. That's not a surprise after intercepting nine passes.
But when he came to Florida State in the spring and watched a practice, he knew where he wanted to be. Especially after spending time getting to know head coach Mike Norvell, defensive coordinator Adam Fuller and defensive backs coach Marcus Woodson.
"Ultimately, I chose Florida State because of the tradition," Dotson said. "When I came here and was watching practice and everything, and talking to Coach Norvell and Coach Fuller and Woodson, you just get the energy that they're about what they say they're about.
"For me personally, being that this is my last year, being around a great group of men to teach me how to be a man and be ready for the real world ... I saw that from those guys. That kind of attracted me."
* MORE UPDATES: WR Tamorrion Terry, RB La'Damian Webb speak after first practice
And the reason the Seminoles' coaching staff was attracted to him?
Well, for starters, he had more interceptions last season than all of the Florida State defensive backs combined. He also had four picks during his one season in junior college. And he he had eight as a junior at Mainland High School.
Wherever he goes, Dotson tends to display a unique ability to make plays.
"To be honest, it's just how I play football," he said. "It was just something my high school coach, who also coached me and Cyrus (FSU defensive back Fagan) in Pop Warner, he just taught us: Once you know it, feel it, believe in it and go get the ball. And that kind of stuck with me."