Quarterback Quinten Dormady looks forward to Hula Bowl, believes maturity sets him apart
Quinten Dormady has never played a full college football season.
He was the backup to Joshua Dobbs for two seasons at Tennessee. After starting the opening five games in 2017, he was benched and sustained a season-ending shoulder injury.
Dormady graduate transferred to Houston, where the injury forced him out of a true competition against D'Eriq King in fall practices. He took a medical redshirt.
Possessing another grad transfer opportunity, Dormady picked Central Michigan and was poised to stay healthy. All was going as planned he injured his knee in Week 2 against Wisconsin.
He missed four games before returning as the starter.
"That was tough for me," Dormady said, "but it was good to see David (Moore) step in and do what was needed to be done."
Dormady doesn't have any eligibility remaining, but he gets one more chance to showcase his talents in a game atmosphere at the 2020 Hula Bowl, an all-star showcase at 10:30 p.m. Sunday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The 6-foot-5, 219-pound pro-style quarterback considers the Hula Bowl as an opportunity to prove his worth as a professional to NFL scouts.
"I've been through a lot of different offenses," Dormady said. "I'm a smart quarterback and not somebody (NFL teams) will have to babysit. I'll be a professional – not someone they have to worry about. I think that's something that will separate me."
Dormady has been training at EXOS in Phoenix, Arizona.
The only other quarterback working out with him is former Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate, who threw for 1,954 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2019.
"He's a special athlete," Dormady said, "so just trying to compete with him is a challenge. It's been fun with all the guys."
Competition is nothing new for Dormady, who entered the Chippewa program with hopes of beating fellow quarterbacks David Moore and Tommy Lazzaro for the starting job.
He was successful in doing so while taking on a leadership role for the younger quarterbacks, most notably freshman Daniel Richardson.
"You see things differently when you're younger as I've grown up," Dormady said. "I had a different mindset and more expertise in some areas, so it was cool to interact with guys that way."
Along with the maturity aspect, Dormady submerged himself in another offensive system. In his five years of college, he's had five offensive coordinators – Tennessee's Mike Bajakian (2015), Mike DeBord (2015-16) and Larry Scott (2017), Houston's Kendal Briles (2018) and CMU's Charlie Frye (2019).
The styles implemented by the Volunteers were the same system during those three years under different minds. Houston was a much simpler offense predicated on "slinging it down the field" and option routes for receivers.
Under McElwain and Frye in Mount Pleasant, the offense was a pro-style similar to what Dormady experienced at Tennessee.
"Obviously, coach Mac is one of the best offensive minds in the game, so it was a lot of fun there," Dormady said. "They gave me different things I hadn't had in the previous four years. Each system was very different."
Dormady finished his stay at Central Michigan by completing 190 of 294 passes for 2,312 yards, 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He threw for 3,602 yards, 21 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his career.
He helped turn the Chippewas from their 1-11 record in 2018 to an 8-6 mark in 2019 with a trip to the Mid-American Conference title game and New Mexico Bowl.
"It was fun to see the guys buy in," Dormady said. "Coach Mac brings a similar mindset and culture to what I've experienced in the SEC. To be at that level, it's a little different.
"It was something I'll remember for the rest of my life."
Dormady set a goal for himself when he made his second grad transfer. He wanted to enjoy the game again, much like when he was at Boerne High School in Texas.
"The previous years, it was tough for me to do that for many different reasons," Dormady said.
With Central Michigan in the rearview mirror but forever in his heart, Dormady's focus has turned to finding an NFL opportunity. He will participate in the Hula Bowl and continue to train for CMU Pro Day.
Due to his relationships with wide receivers from his past, Dormady expects to also participate for scouts at Tennessee's Pro Day, giving him two chances to impress.
"I'm still working through the details, but I'm hoping I'll be able to do Tennessee, and it looks like I am," Dormady said. "It just takes one opportunity to get your career going, so that's what I'm hoping for."