SE: Cutting Edge — Skillful Dozier Making Most of Time at K-State

When Cedric Dozier decided to graduate early from the University of California and transfer to K-State, he brought a wide range of skills with him. 

While Dozier’s football abilities brought him to K-State, his skills with a hair clipper opened up a unique opportunity through the Staley School of Leadership Studies this summer. 

The Staley School, through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leadership — the flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) — hosted a group of 25 individuals from Sub-Saharan Africa for six weeks, exchanging culture and developing leadership with them. 

One of the experiences included getting haircuts, which is where Dozier and sophomore wide receiver Byron Pringle stepped in. 

“It was a great group of guys. Those guys came out and they had a lot of class. We were able to bond for a couple of hours,” Dozier said. “We raised their confidence. That’s what haircuts are supposed to do. If you’re a barber, you’re supposed to have someone leaving your establishment or wherever you are with more confidence, thinking, ‘I can go attack the world because I just got a fresh haircut.’”

Dozier has stepped in as one of the go-to barbers on his new team, pointing out senior safety Dante Barnett’s fresh look as his latest work at K-State’s media day. 

While smiling at his work, Dozier, also his own barber, said: “I got a couple skills.” 

On the field, Dozier touts his disciplined coverage ability and high energy as his top attributes. He played in 34 games for the Golden Bears that included 16 starts, 80 tackles and nine passes defended. 

“I’m a very energetic guy. I’m sure some of my other teammates may agree with that,” he said. “I pride myself on being a cover guy.”

In life he’s a proven adapter, a skill that should help him to transition quickly in his only year of eligibility at K-State. 

Dozier spent the first 14 years of his life in Roanoke, Alabama, where he said he developed his foundation and faith. When he moved to Lakewood, Washington — more than 2,100 miles away from his home as the crow flies — for “a better living situation,” he approached high school and his future with great regard. 

He left Lakes High School as an All-American, the No. 1 cornerback in the state and the 24th-best in the country in the Class of 2012 by Scout.com. 

“I’ve always had that working man’s attitude and that working man’s mentality, so when I went to Washington, it was just straight business,” said Dozier, who also played receiver and quarterback at Lakes High. “I feel like I tried sacrificing for victory and that’s how I see every transition I’ve ever went through. Wherever I’m at, I just sacrifice for victory.”

Dozier brought the same mentality to K-State, where he had a recruiting connection with linebackers coach Mike Cox since early in his high school career and where he has added depth to the Wildcats’ secondary. 

“Experience,” K-State defensive coordinator Tom Hayes said of what Dozier brings. “We’re just glad we have him because we have some needs, and he and D.J. Reed are filling those needs.” 

With a short window of time to get adjusted to a new team and new system, Dozier said two factors at K-State have helped him along. 

First, Dozier said his teammates were “very receptive” to him when he arrived in early June. 

“Once they saw that I was here to work hard, they were even more receptive to me,” he said. “I just really appreciate it because it could’ve been the other way around.”

Second, K-State’s defensive scheme was easy to pick up on. “If you can’t learn the defense, it’s basically on you because (Hayes) makes everything, ‘X is this, Z is that and go play football,’” Dozier said. “So it’s very simple.”

What won’t be simple is the Wildcats’ season opener against seventh-ranked Stanford, Dozier’s former rival, this Friday at 8 p.m. (CT) on FS1. Dozier isn’t shying away from the challenge, however. 

“Stanford, they are good, but I’m familiar with them. I’m just happy I get one more time to go out there and compete against them,” he said of the nationally-televised game in Palo Alto, California, where more than 6,000 K-State fans are expected. “What better guys to do it with than this group of guys right here?”