Josh Doster | Carolina Energy (AAL) | RB
Q: Tell us about your college (or pro) career and what the recruiting/scouting process was like?
A: My daughter was born when I was a high school senior, so I did not go to college. Instead I stayed in my hometown and worked full time to provide for her. I continuously stayed in the gym and continued skills training for years until 2018, when I heard about a tryout for a local arena team in Charlotte, NC. I went to an open tryout for the Carolina Energy AAL team and was offered a contract during that tryout. During pre-season training I earned my spot as a starting running back for the team. I played with the Energy for 2 seasons, until the coronavirus pandemic hit early 2020.
Q: What would you consider to be your biggest accomplishment in your sports career so far?
A: After rushing for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns in 6 games during my first pro season in 2018, I was named to the AAL All Pro Team, and was invited to participate in the AAL Allstar game.
Q: What do you consider to be one of the more important things you learned from the coaching staff while playing?
A: Coach Evans, now a very close friend of mine, has really taught me a lot about versatility on the field. In other words, I should never get comfortable just using one skill set, but always be working to expand those skills, outside of my comfort zone.
Q: How was your career impacted due to the 2020 pandemic and what have you learned from the adversity?
A: At the end of the AAL 2019 season, I really felt I had strong momentum in advancing my football career to a higher professional level. I was informed of scouts coming to games to observe me play. Then Covid happened. My kids were out of school and the daycares closed, I continued to work full time, and my wife is a healthcare worker in our local hospital. Our focus unfortunately shifted to maintaining a sense of normalcy for our kids, while also working and trying to keep our family healthy. I continued to work out and run every day, only now it was in my garage and back yard, because the gyms were closed. There were some very late nights getting home from work, helping with school assignments, preparing dinner and baths while my wife had to work at the hospital. Many times I felt like I would not have another opportunity to play ball at a higher professional level. I had others telling me there’s no way it could happen now. But being stubborn like always, I kept working. My times still got faster, and I still got stronger. I’m now so grateful for this chance to display the hard work I have put in.
I am a versatile asset to any team. I am a powerful back with my size and strength, but with my speed I am also a weapon for running routes out of the back field. My work ethic is unmatched and I will strive to be the best at any position.
Q: What was your major and what are your plans if football doesn’t work out?
A: As mentioned earlier, I did not attend college due to the birth of my daughter and a wrist injury at the very end of my senior year in high school. I immediately began working full time for a family-owned construction company after graduation and have been with them for over 11 years. I have continued to work full time, even during my football career with the Energy. I started as a laborer, and I am currently the foreman of my own crew, operating heavy equipment. I plan to continue my advancement in this industry, even after I have completed my football career.
Q: What would your current/past teammates say about you and your qualities?
A: All of my teammates in my professional career have been surprised finding out I did not play college ball. I believe they would comment on my dedication to the game and to success. They would say that there was no one on the field that would out-work me.
Q: What has been one of the most memorable plays of your career at any level?
A: The second game of my professional career with the Energy, we played the Richmond Roughriders. During the very first series of the game, I truly realized my potential. This was the first real challenge I had experienced at any level, as I was up against a defense with talented former NFL and CFL players including Greg Hardy. I rushed for a total of 40 yards through this series and finished with a touchdown. Standing up in that end zone surrounded by so many great players confirmed in my mind and heart that I belonged at this level, and that all the dedication to my training through the years was worth it.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge and how do you manage it?
A: Time management has definitely been challenging. Between working full time +, training and running, and also spending quality time with my wife and 3 kids. I have never wanted to miss out on any of the joys that come with fatherhood, so making the time for all I needed to do for my career was difficult. There have been many sacrifices we have had to make as a family to make this dream possible. Thankfully my wife has been understanding and supportive of everything I’ve done, she may give me a hard time but at the end of the day, she has worked just as hard as I have to maintain things at home and with the kids to give me this opportunity.
Q: If you could compare yourself to a pro athlete, who would that be and why?
A: Mike Alstott. Our running styles are very similar, we have comparable size and features. His running game is aggressive and powerful. I’ve had several coaches and teammates compare my style of play to his.
Q: What is your biggest strength that you bring to a professional team and why should pro scouts consider you?
A: I am a versatile asset to any team. I am a powerful back with my size and strength, but with my speed I am also a weapon for running routes out of the back field. My work ethic is unmatched and I will strive to be the best at any position.
Q: Are you involved in mentoring, a charity or do you “give back” or ”pay it forward” in your community?
A: I volunteer with one of my former coaches on Saturday mornings, we have groups of high school players that will meet with us to work on skills and speed training. I also have several young athletes (football, soccer, baseball) that meet me at the local gym during weeknights, where we work on strength and speed training.
Q: How are you preparing for the 2021 National Scouting Combine and what are your goals?
A: I’m in the gym 2-3 hours a day, 6 days a week. I do combinations of weight training, football drills, and speed training. I have been working with former coaches, and current and former NFL/CFL athletes for speed and agility work at least 3 days a week. My specific goals would be to be the top performer in the 225 lb bench press, a 40-yd time less than 4.7 seconds. Broad goal would be to be a stand-out performer, and excel in every event at the combine.
Q: What would be your ultimate achievement?
A: To be recognized by a team who could benefit from my skill set, and be able to perform at a high professional level.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when not playing football?
A: Being a dad brings me more happiness than anything else in this world.
Q: If you could make a positive impact on all of society what would it be and why?
A: If I were to make it to the level of play where I can have a platform, my number one goal would be to show young people that your circumstances do not define you, but your character and work ethic most definitely do. There is no obstacle that cannot be overcome with hard work, prayer, dedication, and humility. In my situation, I had educational challenges with ADHD, I was a teenage father, worked full-time, got married young and worked to put my wife through undergrad and graduate school, I have raised my daughter and 2 boys. If I am able to make this dream a reality, then my story can be used as inspiration to so many young men and women who may feel like its “too late”. More than anything, I hope to glorify God through my testimony, because without Him none of this would even be possible. I truly believe that all of society can benefit by more young people chasing their dreams and never giving up.
Q: Who is or has been the most influential person in your life?
A: My daughter, Addison. I was 17 when i found out I was going to be a dad. I was a high school football stand out and had big plans to play in college. When she was born my plans completely changed. As a kid I was absolutely terrified, but I knew that raising that little girl was my new top priority in life. I didn’t go off to college, I stayed in my hometown and worked full time to provide for her. I thank God every day for this, because I would not have started dating my wife and we would not now have Addisons two little brothers. My family is everything to me, and none of it would have happened without Addie being born. She helped me to grow from a scared teenager to a strong proud dad.
Q: What is something unique about you that people would find interesting?
A: About 50-60 hours each week, you’ll find me dressed in a neon shirt and hard hat, either operating an excavator or 8 ft deep in a drainage ditch. In fact you’ve probably passed by me when driving on a busy street in North Carolina any time in the past 11 years. I sometimes have to go straight to the gym in my jeans and mud covered work boots.
Q: What is your dream job?
A: Obviously, starting running back in the NFL. Specifically for my home state with the Carolina Panthers.