You probably don’t know Cam Cheeseman’s name.
He likes it that way.
As a long-snapper, he knows that this anonymity means he’s doing his job right. Even playing for a fanbase as dedicated as Michigan’s, no one knows who the long-snapper is until he slips up.
“The more your name is known by the fans and stuff like that, usually it’s a sign that you aren’t doing the best,” Cheeseman joked.
Cheeseman, who graduated last spring, started for the Wolverines in 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons as the long-snapper. Having graduated in the spring, and with that also finishing his scholarship, Cheeseman opted out of his fifth-year season for financial reasons; he plans to go to dental school, so a fifth year didn’t make sense. But before committing to dental school in the fall, where he’s been accepted at both Michigan and Ohio State, Cheeseman is headed to the NFL Draft as this year’s top-rated long-snapper by Brady Balhorn.
But Cheeseman’s NFL hopes aren’t limited to this year’s draft. It’s not uncommon for special teams players to go undrafted for a year or few before making it to the pros. Cheeseman knows well that this could be his fate, and he’s prepared for it.
“You have to go in with the idea that I’m going to give it everything I have, with the hopes of getting drafted. Then if I don’t get drafted that I’m going to give it everything I have on whichever team gets me an opportunity to go in and compete to win a job,” Cheeseman said. “Our position is very unique because there’s only 32 of that position, give or take.”
Looking at a potential delay of a few more years before getting his shot in the NFL, Cheeseman knew it made sense to apply to dental school. But football still comes first. He’s got a shot at making the pros, and he’s not giving up on it easily.
After all, even making it this far was a long shot.
Cheeseman started long-snapping in high school at the suggestion of his best friend, who’s now a kicker at Notre Dame. Until his senior year of high school, Cheeseman didn’t know there was a spot for a long-snapper on college teams, never mind in the NFL.
“I found a local coach, and we started working, and he was like, ‘You’ve got the size, if you want to do this in college,’ ” Cheeseman said. “I just kept working with it in college camps, ended up getting ranked pretty high and going to the All-American game, and I guess my career just took off from there.”
And, as far as careers in collegiate long-snapping go, take off it has. Cheeseman was a three-year starter for Michigan and won Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance against Middle Tennessee State in 2019. He’s now the highest-rated prospect at his position in this year’s NFL Draft.
It’s a long way from being a junior varsity center. A shot at pro football is worth a little more of a wait.